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Meet Katiana Jarbath Smith of Jarbath Art in Palm Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katiana Jarbath Smith.

Katiana Jarbath, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story began at a very young age. An elementary school teacher noticed my talent and suggested to my mother I apply to attend Norland Middle, a Magnet School in Miami. It was there the journey in Visual Arts began for me. In those three years, I learned a lot of the fundamentals of art, prepared a portfolio, and advanced my skills in preparation for auditioning to New World School of the Arts. I was accepted into the New World School of the Arts’ rigorous Arts program and received training for 2 1/2 years. My art training ended before completing the 4-year program and I closed the door on Art. There were a lot of factors that played a role in that. At the age of 15, I started working an evening job and it began interfering with my studies and my art program. Being a student at the New World meant very long days and even longer nights. It was at that time that I began to feel as if I didn’t have a place in the Art world. My junior year was the year for me to make decisions about my future and with very traditional Haitian parents an art career wasn’t plausible. Telling my Professors I wasn’t going to pursue an art career made them turn their backs on me as well. I internalized that experience and buried the memory of being an artist for 15 years. It wasn’t until recently, that my call to be an artist couldn’t remain buried. Art has always been my way of communicating and expressing myself.

Over the 15-year period, I became a mother of two boys and the media headlines about young black lives being lost encouraged me to start painting again. But it’s been so long, and since I have been silent for 15 years, I felt it only right to start my story from the beginning with honoring my Haitian Roots. So, now two years later, I haven’t put down a brush. I am in my element and I am now whole being a wife, mother, homeschool parent, and a fine visual artist.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I can’t say it has been a smooth road, but I refuse to complain. Sometimes, I have felt like I’ve missed out on 15 years of growth and experience as an artist. But I am a firm believer that things happen in their own time. Being an artist wasn’t part of the original family plan and I took a different path as I made way for the future. I went to college and obtained my bachelor’s degree, but not in art, which was my true passion. I started a career in law enforcement, a field completely unrelated to art. With every twist and turn, I have had to make adjustments for me and my family. The journey then took me to be a stay at home wife and mom for a few years. Now, amazingly enough, I am balancing that and creating a career as an artist. However, with each challenge there is growth. I am eternally grateful for each experience that I have had on this journey. It has opened my eyes to allow me to see things in a way that I (or rather 15 years younger me) would not… or could not see. In this journey, I have seen myself grow in ways I hadn’t imagined I could. There’s a drive in me that I didn’t recognize as mines before now. Maybe without this 15-year hiatus, I could have taken art for granted. Maybe I could have grown tired of it. I do not know. But what I do know is that I am now determined to walk in this path, this defined path that was meant for me, and me alone.

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
From the work I’ve already produced, I can be categorized as a painter. I paint in acrylic, mostly from reference and I am known for my portrait work that favors the style of realism. But I’m finding it hard to categorize myself these days. My art will evolve as I explore more mediums, refamiliarize myself with different techniques and just create. I’m itching to try so many things that I don’t want to limit what’s budding in me. What I can say is that I am proud to be recognized as an Afro Caribbean Artist that depicts my Haitian culture through my paintings. My brand, which I’m still working to build, will depict my story, one that will hopefully not only tell my story but others’ stories as well. I have a journal that I started when I broke out my paints two years ago which is full of ideas. My art will become so many things and as I continue on this path, I want my work to really leave an impression on viewers. I want my collectors to follow my creations with intrigue. I’d like to believe what sets me apart is the story of how I got here today, my returning to art with such intent and purpose.

What role has luck had in your life and business?
Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality. -Eliyahu Goldratt

For things that are in within my control, I believe I play a role in whether or not I get a good outcome. There have been ample times when I failed to prepare properly for an event or an opportunity, and it doesn’t go as well as I would’ve liked. But there are other times when I’ve made the right preparations and met my deadlines and the outcome is achieved. I’ve experienced the result in both my personal and business life. One thing in business that I have had to work on in order to get better results is becoming more confident in speaking to others, especially in a public setting. I let my social anxiety get the best of me and I miss the opportunity to network. However instead of allowing myself to use this as an excuse, I prep a few topics to ease into the conversation. I have been known to have a few girlfriends on speed dial to help me get out of my shell if I turn into a hermit. With the right preparation, things fall into place.


  • Prints range from $30-%175
  • Inquire about booking me for an upcoming event

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Picture of me in jumper taken by photographer Adriano Ficarelli, Black and white photo taken by photographer Dan Perez

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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