Video / PHOTOS

$100 USD portrait paintings available (14 x 11″ acrylic on canvas panel and paper) as of September 16, 2017. Music by Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester).

January 2016 to September 10, 2017 (14 x 11″ acrylic on canvas panel). Music by Mecca Normal (Jean Smith vocals and David Lester guitar).

All Jean Smith’s 14 x 11″ acrylics (on canvas panel) from oldest to most recent. Music by Mecca Normal (Jean Smith vocals and David Lester guitar).

A brief history of Mecca Normal in TV news clips and live footage to give background and context to Jeans Smith’s ongoing $100 painting series.

“I made this for Dan Seward’s Bunnybrains event during TBA: 16  at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) 511 Gallery in Portland, Oregon on September 15, 2016.” – Jean Smith

Part of Makeup on Empty Space, curated by Kristan Kennedy. Co-presented with PNCA’s 511 Gallery & Director of Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Mack McFarland.

All the paintings in Jean Smith’s ongoing series of $100 paintings as of May 30, 2017. 175 of the 315 paintings in the series have sold. Paintings currently available

Music by Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester), from the album Empathy for the Evil (produced by KRAMER who also plays bass on these tracks) except for Cherry Flowers from Dovetail.
Wasn’t Said
Between Livermore and Tracy 4:25
Critical 14:40
Cherry Flowers 20:30

At the very end (after the credits) Jean gives a brief visual demonstration of how Mecca Normal got started.

Mecca Normal‘s “Man Thinks Woman” (1987) was included in Pitchfork’s story of feminist punk in 33 songs with a great write-up by Douglas Wolk on August 8, 2016.

“Mecca Normal break rules like they never noticed them in the first place. The Vancouver-based duo of singer Jean Smith and guitarist David Lester are anarchist-feminist activists and constant experimentalists, implying a rhythm section with negative space alone. Always an intense presence onstage, they’ve become the most tenacious of D.I.Y. road warriors, touring and recording for 32 years now. In the early ’90s, they popped up on most of the biggest American indie-rock labels (Sub Pop, K, Matador); by their 25th anniversary, they were on the road with a performance-and-lecture project called “How Art & Music Can Change the World.”

Smith’s lyrics often foreground her political perspective; their anthem “Man Thinks ‘Woman,'” released in 1987, started out as a barbed dissection of gender normativity: “Man thinks ‘woman’ when he talks to me/Something not quite right.” The song kept expanding its radius from there, encompassing both bitter poetics and a disarmingly funny account of a drunken makeout gone weird. Kathleen Hanna has cited Smith as an early inspiration: “When I saw her,” she told The Fader, “I was just like, that’s it. I’m done. I’m sold.” – Douglas Wolk

“Knowing When to Stop: the Painting of No Hat #82” (14 minutes) August 26, 2016

Paintings from my ongoing $100 series (February to July 23, 2016) with me talking (somewhat abstractly) about being the daughter of very emotional (volatile) painters. Featuring my thoughts on an early introduction to the concept of quality, the importance of art, and my indoctrination into believing that paintings are about human interactions (if not themselves essentially part of those same interactions).

This monologue touches on my early indoctrination into “the emotional realms of painting”. The paintings featured are from my recent, ongoing series of $100 paintings “The Hat”, “No Hat”, “Angry Woman in Rock”, “Kabuki”, and “The Singer”.

It all started with “The Hat” series in January, 2016. I posted the first one on my FaceBook page and it sold that same day. Hours later, someone was offering me money in advance for the next one! Since then, paintings in this series have been purchased by painting instructors from the University of British Columbia and the Art Institute of Chicago, a painter whose work was exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, 2014 in New York City, and by a critic for Artfourm Magazine.


Jean Smith reading at LitQuake, San Francisco, October 10, 2012. “Odele’s Bath” is a section from “The Black Dot Museum of Political Art” (literary fiction by Jean Smith). “Odele’s Bath” is also a Mecca Normal song (recorded by KRAMER in Miami Beach in November, 2012).

Jean Smith Writer page.

Jean Smith holding self-portrait at the Vancouver Public Library

Jean Smith speaking at the Vancouver Public Library about the self-portrait series she has maintained since 1973.

Jean Smith and David Lester at the Vancouver Public Gallery

Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester) performing at the Vancouver Art Gallery in front of paintings by Jack Shadbolt, 2009.