THE SMYTH & PINEDA CO.

Hand-bound folios of colored pencil and ink drawings on paper, 2008.

Colwell invented the fictitious insurance company, Smyth and Pineda, to critique the way we perceive and mitigate natural disasters.  The series began with the EDUCATIONAL SERIES ON CATASTROPHE a series of hand-drawn, book-bound educational posters that depict the physics of geological movement and the nomenclature of fault lines. The books are fanciful case studies on communities coping with geological nuisances and the series as a whole is modeled after the popular mid twentieth century educational books on the natural world produced by the American insurance company Mutual of Omaha Insurance.

Later Colwell made the Smyth & Pineda 2014 Calendar as a piece of branded insurance paraphernalia for her fictional company using images from her series of drawings The Mudslide Catalogue.  And finally, Colwell made the Smyth & Pineda Portable Educational Center, which echos back to the mobile sales centers used by early 20th century traveling salesmen in America and their modern incarnations such as the Allstate Insurance mobile disaster response units.  However, rather than peddling insurance, Colwell’s educational center presents an ironic moment for reflection and study at the site of recent catastrophes.