In 2000 Smith returned to Utah, the dream of becoming a pro skater still burning wildly inside him. In 2002 he took a second run at California. This time moving to Carlsbad with pro skaters James Atkin and Jon Allie with the main goal of making it in the professional world. He started meeting all the right people and pushing himself in the right direction to fulfill his aspirations. Living in Carlsbad gave him the opportunity to see the truth behind a professional career and ultimately changed his mindset. “I remember meeting Mike Carroll and Guy Mariano and seeing them so stressed out about getting their photo or meeting a deadline. I didn’t want to be like that. I just wanted to skate,” says Smith. Smith put an immense amount of pressure on himself to succeed in the pro skate world, it began to affect his physical ability and eventually led to a broken ankle. “I started injuring myself because I wasn’t doing it for the right reason,” says Smith.
At 22, Smith left California and returned to Utah. He enrolled in Dixie College for one short semester before a run in with the cops and a strict possession of marijuana charge got him kicked out of school and landed him in drug court. Not wanting to stay in St. George, Smith transferred his drug court up to Salt Lake City where he started filming for the Random Lurkers skate video and taking care of probation. Probation wasn’t all bad though––it kept Smith sober and motivated to skate. This was around the time when local professionals Mike “Lizard King” Plumb and Adam Dyet were starting to make a big impact in the skate world. Smith, being close friends with both Lizard and Dyet, started to rethink the possibility of becoming a pro skater and ended up on a chance road trip with Lizard, filmer Brian “Slugger” Forwood, pro skater Nyjah Houston, and SLAP magazine photographer Sean Peterson. That skate trip led to Smith having photos published in SLAP magazine. “Peterson totally wanted to blow me up but, I was like no I want to skate just to skate,” says Smith.
At this point, skateboarding took a back seat and his second childhood passion, art, began emerging as the new focus of his life. He was always sketching as a kid and involved in art classes. In his early 20s, the art of stencil making became his preferred medium. He drew inspiration from artists like Banksy, Alphonse Mucha, M.C. Escher and locals like Mike Murdock, Dave Dolmen, Andy Pits and Trent Call. What started as simple one-layer stencils eventually evolved into meticulously hand drawn and shaded, technical multi-layered stencils.
In 2005, Smith noticed stencil artists using Photoshop to trace the layers they wanted to cut out. This development made Smiths feelings towards the medium turn sour. “It’s not street style, it’s easy, in my eyes it’s cheating,” says Smith. He started looking towards new mediums of art––like refining his drawing skills and using acrylic paints. Over the past year, he has been working with SLUG Magazine doing illustrations for Skatepark Etiquette and Mike Brown’s column. This work helped him receive a pell grant for schooling at the Salt Lake Community College. Smith says his goal is to develop his skills with programs like Illustrator and Photoshop to produce well refined professional work. From a business standpoint, he wants to stay involved in the skateboard industry making a living designing and producing artwork. “Skateboarding has given so much to me I just want to give back and stay in the industry my whole life,” says Smith. “I’ll generate the energy and power I need through different people and resources to end up where I’m supposed to be.” Smith is a man with unsurpassed drive to obtain his ambition. Without question this will not be the last time you hear of him.