October Musical Artist of the Month – Larry Smiley
Larry Smiley was born in Cleveland in 1951. He lived in the Harvard Lee area. In 1962 his family moved to Independence. He studied art at high school and eventually in college at Tri C metro campus. He also took guitar lessons briefly in 1965 and 1966. Around 1974, Larry purchased a camera and began taking 35mm photographs, getting into a few in shows. Around 1979, he began getting ideas about things he wanted to say through painting. He isolated himself and created about 30 canvases of various sizes that he showed at the Trumbull art guild shows. Later he exhibited in Cleveland Heights at the Jewish Community Center. He has also shown work at SPACES and at the People’s art show sponsored by Cleveland State University.
As far as music goes, Larry was led back into music through his friends. His brother-in-law the late Ron Park purchased a guitar and left it at Larry’s house to play when he visited. Larry would play it as his canvases dried. He eventually borrowed a 2-track reel to reel recorded from a man named Jim Jones. Jones taught Larry how to bounce tracks back and forth on the unit. The end result was a multi-instrument recording. Jones was a friend who worked at a record store Larry patronized. He played guitar and keyboards for Pere Ubu and the Easter Monkeys. After Larry finished recording, he released 5 tunes on a 45 rpm Ep. He was on the Bizart record label founded by his friend the late Brian Sands (aka Kinchy). His first record was called “Voice of the Planet”. He used the artist name Smiley at the time but later found out there was a disco singer using that name, so in order to avoid confusion, he has been using the name Smiling Eye since 1986.
In 2000, Larry released his first digital recording titled “Travels Within” by Smiling Eye.
2020 saw three new Smiling Eye Cds. Then in 2023, Larry released the newest CD titled “Extremes of Being”.