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Movin' On Up
by Tana March

Our Hero | Chronicled

"Make something happen. It's what my Dad tells me every time we get off the phone. So that's what I try and do. Just make something happen."

And if you ask 31 year old artist Brady Smith how that's working out for him, he'll pause to think for a moment, then nod his head and flash you a tiny glimpse of that smile as big as the Lone Star state from which he hails. "It's going pretty well. Things are good." You've got that right!

Brady's artwork has been featured in publications including Orange Coast Magazine, Texas Monthly, Surfing Magazine and Inside Houston. He's done freelance illustration and design work for such big boys as American Express, Nabisco, Make a Wish Foundation and Lupus Foundation.

The hero in his own story of human triumph, Brady left his Houston roots and moved to Los Angeles two and a half years ago to take a new swing at life and smell the salty sea air. A long time surfer and diver, he loves anything that has to do with the water. He even admits his favorite movie is Jaws. Coming from a place where he'd built a strong client base, Los Angeles has proved to be a gigantic challenge. "In Houston I'd have a show and 90% of my pieces would sell at the opening reception. But here I didn't know anyone; I've had to start all over again. I guess I was a little spoiled, but I'm glad I did it."

His struggle to make ends meet in the beginning led him to such crummy jobs as cleaning peoples' urinated wet suits at a scuba shop, catering weddings and delivering food. But good things come from everything. "With everything in life you make what you can," Brady says. "If everyday you do as much as you can do, things are gonna happen."

And happen they do. In true Hollywood style, too. Brady was discovered in a coffee shop! His lively paintings hanging on the walls of Mani's, a trendy neighborhood bakery in the Fairfax District, caught the eye of Grant Daniels, the art director for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Grant took Brady's contact info from the placard on the wall and one short phone call later he was scheduled to paint 3 giant canvases for the set. At 10' X 10' and 12' x 14', Brady had never painted anything that big before. "I painted nonstop for 32 hours because I wanted to go home for Christmas and didn't want to miss my flight. That's one thing, if there's an opportunity, I'm going to bust my ass to do it." Brady's installation airs once or twice every two weeks, setting the backdrop for such performers as Alanis Morrisette.

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