Fishbon Community: Jon Smith - Installation Artist with a penchant for projection


Jon was born in southern England and raised in NE England. He emigrated to Canada from the UK when he was almost 16.

Like the creative, explorative, curious and adventurous lad he was he dropped out at 17 hitchhiking across Canada. He lived in the far north of Canada in Yellowknife for a year and then traveled to South America. Mostly making good use of his thumb, good looks and charm he traveled as a professional hitchhiker with Guatemalan goods in tow.  It was by buying and selling Guatemalan goods the his travels were financed.  Jon traveled through western and eastern Europe, north America, central America, paused to lived in Paris for a year and also traveled to Asia.

Jon moved to Santa Barbara with his Californian lover.  She developed some severe health problems which provided a good enough reason to make Santa Barbara his home base.

His life has revolved around the passion and need to enrich his life through travel.  A predictable but never dull cycle of designing the trip, making the money, going on the trip, returning and repeating the process again and again and again.

A natural outcome of this delightful repetitive cycle was development of a passion for foreign languages. Being an innovator in all things Jon invented a system of communication which entailed speaking very quickly making up sentences on the fly.  Worked like a charm! Check out his fetchaphrase website!

Other key components in Jon’s vibrant and inspired life include a balance between artistic stuff and raucous social stuff.  Artistic stuff that is wildly inventive & bold: such as making a 108 mural of rock art for a rave.  The social stuff has mostly manifest itself as drinking beer with buddies and developing into a pool champion at Elsies (which has brought him much acclaim and local fame.)

It was an inevitability that Burning Man should call Jon to its soul.  At Burning Man he discovered that he not only liked making installations, but had a knack and gift for it. He also learned he liked to wear whacky costumes and engaging in extemporaneous, interactive theater. With this proclivity, creating for Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice celebrations organically manifest leading to realization of numerous Solstice projects.

It was only a matter of time before Jon happened upon one of Santa Barbara’s most creative (then underground) community's, Fishbon.

More discovery! Jon learned he loved acting when he took on the role of the “mirror” in Fishbon’s rendition of Sleeping Beauty. He also discovered he liked fiddling with projections which odd shaped screens. This “penchant for projection”, as Jon calls it, led to doing the filming and projection about Lotusland at the CAF for the Santa Barbara Film Festival, being lead lighting and projection guy for Bamboo DNA at the Coachella Arts and Music Festival as well as taking on the lighting for the entire party and projection on the rabbit at the Fishbon’s Spring 2011 event, Chartreuse.

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