Wedged into a large gash in a curved wall, matte gold, geometric crystallings pile up, at once coming out of and crowding into this opening in a wall.

Love Letter to Paige Smith

Wedged into a large gash in a curved wall, matte gold, geometric crystallings pile up, at once coming out of and crowding into this opening in a wall.
Paige Smith, Urban Geode. Sculpture. Courtesy of Paige Smith.

If you believe the mystics and fortune-tellers, there is an infinite amount of psychic energy swirling around Sedona, Arizona. The town’s otherworldly power extends more than an hour’s drive away in Phoenix, the sprawling metropolis where I reside. You can channel this mystical energy by purchasing a decorative (and overpriced) crystal at one of the characterless strip malls that dot the urban landscape. They’ve become so ubiquitous that I wonder if these colorful pieces of quartz hold any spiritual or artistic abilities at all.

But when I see one of Paige Smith’s (a.k.a. A Common Name) Urban Geode installations on a brick at a Southern California coffee shop or in a snapshot on Instagram, my soul is stirred. These simple, inconspicuous resin formations catch my eye in a way that a cheap souvenir cannot and remind me that the earth is still capable of sending us messages. They’re a precious creation in a place where skyscrapers and other man-made objects block out the beauty of the natural landscape.

“I want these geodes to inspire you to get away from everything that distracts you,” she told The Fanzine in 2018.

Despite all the commercialism and other distractions that vie for our attention, nature still wants to have a conversation with us. Smith’s art reminds me that we don’t have to travel to a resort town or buy a shiny rock to have it. We just need to be willing to listen.