Donovan Smith is a native Portlander doing big things in the area. You may know him from his clothing line Ignorant Reflection or the slogan “gentrification is weird“. The idea started from a college project that he made with his friends that stemmed into him finding his own creative voice. He is a product of OpenSignal and other resources that have provided tools and experiences to young Black and Brown people in Portland. He is proud of his Portland roots and how “weird” it is, especially as a Black person. He explores topics and ideas from his experiences that resonate with others as well.
He is an ideas person. For him, it is a blessing and a curse because he has tons of ideas, but only so many resources to see them through. The work he continues to create and do comes from the stand point of giving information to the people that need it and building community amongst his people.
He will be doing the Illamette Hip Hop Festival this summer. The main objective is to get people in Portland connected to the Willamette River through music. Much the project he does like this often resonate with Donovan personally, but also resonate with others just as deep if not deeper.
He got his first shot in his current line of work through the Portland Observer. They took a chance on him and allowed him to do a few assignments. From that first publication he submitted, his career was launched. It was rewarding because he could put his opinion out there, but it gave him insights that allowed him to understand the social and political dynamics of Portland better.
One of his biggest creative inspirations is Basqiat. He isn’t a traditional artist, but he is creative. He loves to make shirts, but is apprehensive because his is not a great artist.
Donovan Smith was also influential in the creation of the Art Saved My Life residency as a collaboration with Ignorant Reflections, Friends of Noise, Deepunderground, and Y.G.B. The purpose of the residency was to provide resources for people to create