Debra Smith was born in Kansas City in 1971 and raised in Hannibal, Missouri. 


Breaking all stereotypes associated with textiles, from ideas of craft to that of “women’s work” Smith’s pieced images have a strong language that is much more similar to that of painting.


“I am not a poet or someone who draws, but I feel that my use of vintage textiles as a medium brings a history, a weight, a poetry to the work before I even begin to cut, sew and piece the work back together. Allowing the work to intuitively flow thru me the end result is similar to a drawing or poetry.”


Pursuing her interest in fashion and textiles, Debra Smith studied at the Italian Academy of Fashion & Design; Lorenzo de Medici in Florence Italy before receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute with a major in Fiber in 1993 and an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2002. 


Her work has been shown internationally over the past two decades, including solo & group exhibitions:


Seeking Balance, Markel Fine Art, NYC  

Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO

Shifting Vision- IKI, Puerh, Brooklyn, NY

The Thread You Fallow, Daum Museum, Sedalia, MO.(2016)

New American Paintings: Elmhurst Art Museum, Midwest Edition, Elmhurst, IL. (2016)

Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Rijswijk Museum, The Netherlands (2015)

Look&Listen, DUSK, Saint Chamas, France (2015)

Release of Time, Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, NM (2012)

In-between Spaces/ New work, Roswell Museum & Art Center, Roswell, NM (2010),


After living in Brooklyn, NY, for over a decade, Smith returned to her native Midwestern roots in 2004. She now lives in Kansas City, where she continues to create art from vintage textiles.