Paige Smiley self portrait
2023 Senior Exhibition Artists 2023 Senior Exhibition Artists: Paige Smiley
Paige Smiley

Art + Design: Illustration

About Paige Smiley

Paige Smiley is an illustrator with her Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts from Bristol Community College and is currently working towards her BFA at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Paige was born and raised in a rural agricultural town south of Boston and much of her time is either spent playing in her garden or creating fantastical realms. These whimsical worlds consist of anything from fearsome dragons, gallant heroes, and mystical maidens all the way to curious cats, a cantankerous goose, and cozy countrysides. She endeavors to invoke a blend of enchantment and nostalgia.


Inspired by many beloved classic children’s books from the early-mid 20th century, my work plays upon the idea of nostalgia and comfort. This effect is achieved through utilizing traditional media and pastel washes of color. These illustrations are my preliminary concept designs for a future children’s book series. My initial vision for this series was a previous narratively driven project that required me to create a short story based off the prompt “Excuse me sir”. The original narrative I developed was called “A home for Tibby” which featured the same tabby cat seen in my newest creations. It followed a lost Tibby Bobtail who was desperately searching for shelter in the midst of a snowstorm.   

My recent concepts also feature a young kitten by the name of Thompkin Beansprout who plays the role of apprentice to our adventurous star. Each painting depicts ideas for potential stories that would have Tibby and Thompkin embarking on merry exploits where they find themselves in lighthearted and humorous situations. Most of the works are explorations of character interactions and world-building through landscapes. Through this series, I aspire to transport the viewer back to the springtime of life and connect to their youth.