Shari Schmit: Seriously Sassy Collages

Gallery 16 showcases works by Leanin’ Tree artist Schmit and ceramics by Andrew Nagengast

Art Beat
Shari Jenkins Schmit: FridaShari Jenkins Schmit: Frida
Shari Jenkins Schmit’s homage to artist Frida Kahlo.Photo © Shari Jenkins Schmit

Shari Schmit and Andrew Nagengast are February’s featured artists at Gallery 16 in Great Falls. Meet the artists at First Friday Art Walk, 5-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, and enjoy lively music and tasty snacks.

Schmit shares her fun, serious and sassy digital collages. Her Western-style work has been featured in the Leanin’ Tree line of greeting cards.

Clearly, the artist doesn’t take herself too seriously. According to her self-penned biography, “collage artist Shari Jenkins Schmit was born at a very young age, kidnapped by coyotes and raised on a ranch near the Bear Paw Mountains southeast of Big Sandy.

“At the age of 50 and still undecided as to what she wanted to be when she grew up, she realized a decision of some sort was necessary: see what was on TV, have a mid-life crisis, or do something creative. She chose the latter.”

Schmit assembled her collection of antique photos with vintage ephemera, buttons, flowers, leaves, barbed wire, fabric, bullets, maps, door knobs (you name it, she’s scanned it!), and began digitally formatting collage art designs. In recent years, she’s started professionally printing her designs on canvas, having them gallery wrapped, then embellishing each piece with acrylics and pastels.

Andrew Nagengast
Wood fired jar by Andrew Nagengast

Schmit’s love of cowgirls is a prevalent theme in her art, as is her appreciation of history, and a somewhat unconventional sense of humor. With no art education or training, however, her journey to create has taken several interesting twists and turns.

In addition to her fine art, Schmit’s designs can be found on Leanin’ Tree greeting cards, mugs and magnets in nearly 50,000 retail stores across the United States. Read more about the artist in this Montana Senior News profile.

Also in February, Gallery 16 features ceramic works by North Middle School art teacher Andrew Nagengast. The Great Falls native attended MSU, where he studied ceramics with Rick Pope and Josh Deweese. He has been working with clay for 18 years, produces functional ware, and uses a woodfiring technique that gives his pots a distinctive look. His work is influenced by English and Japanese pottery.