For more than forty years, Gary Smaby’s artistic eye has peered through a camera lens; capturing memorable images that run the gamut from classic portraiture to experimental new media. He has trained his lens on an eclectic range of subjects: from legendary rock stars and Nobel laureates to breathtaking landscapes from the Himalaya to the Serengeti. His acclaimed body of photographic work has been variously featured on gallery walls, album jackets, posters and in publications like The New Yorker.
Over the same span, Smaby became an internationally known and oft-quoted observer on the leading edge of science and technology; most notably in the fields of supercomputing, computer graphics, scientific visualization and computer animation. He has served as an advisor to some of the world’s premier research institutions including IBM’s TJ Watson Research Laboratory and AT&T’s Bell Laboratory. In 1997, Smaby was invited to present a Colloquium lecture at NASA’s Langley Research Center.
In 2008, Gary accepted a one-year appointment as director of Collaborative Innovation in the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research. He continues his affiliation with the UoM in various capacities including board member at the Weisman Art Center and senior fellow | artist-in-residence at the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) where several of his works are on permanent display. In addition to TLI, many of his works are on loan and exhibited on the UoM campus, including the College of Biological Sciences and the Center for Spirituality and Healing.
During the first quarter of 2009, Gary was a Visiting Scholar/Artist at the renowned California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2) at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He returned to CALIT2 in the spring of 2010.
In 2011, Gary was an invited Scholar/Artist at University of California, Santa Barbara at the Allosphere Lab within the California Nanosystems Institute. Since 2012 Gary has made an annual sojourn to UCSB's Kavli Center for Theoretical Physics (KITP) as a visiting Artist-in-Residence.
Smaby is a cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College with majors in East Asian Studies and Art. While Gary and his wife Nanci still maintain their home in a converted loft on the historic Minneapolis riverfront; the pair make seasonal migrations between their homes/studios in the north woods of Minnesota and the California desert.