By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Peachtree Ridge graduates making careers in art and fashion
By Carole Townsend
Staff Correspondent

Curtis and Kaiya Smith are brother and sister, and they’re both graduates of Peachtree Ridge High School. But their connection runs even deeper than family and school; as artists, both siblings are making marks on the world around them. 

image2190A 2013 graduate, big brother Curtis has loved dance since he was a little boy. In high school, he was part of a dance crew and from that experience, he created a street dance crew called The Bandits. The group performed at special events and in some music videos. Curtis even auditioned and advanced to the first round of the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance. 

Later, at the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), Curtis began his practical training in photography, drawing, eventually discovering his niche in photography. Void Space Productions, his company, is “an expression of art and life.” He now exhibits his photography on canvas and as prints at area art festivals. During the recent Peace, Love & Art in the Park Festival sponsored by The City of Suwanee, Curtis won “Best Photography Booth.”

image3190Curtis has also started a clothing line, CAS Play Collection, which features fashion-forward clothing made to inspire his customers to “Find the you in you.” The collection bears his signature icon, which he drew himself. Younger sister Kaiya, a 2014 graduate of Peachtree Ridge, has loved makeup and fashion for as long as she can remember. “In high school I modeled, so I was already into fashion and clothes,” she said. “After graduation, my mom encouraged me to go full force. I modeled some more, but I realized that I was more into makeup.” Kaiya studied artful makeup application at schools in Atlanta at Gwynnis Mosby  Makeup Academy, and Chic Studios NYC in New York. After more collaboration with her mom, Kaiya decided to establish a unique business.  

In March, she created Universe + Soul Couture, a rolling boutique that offers trendy fashions, shoes and accessories. “We decided on a mobile boutique. It’s a boutique inside a truck. We got it set up so quickly, because my mom was so supportive,” Kaiya said. 

With 5 or 6 festivals already under her belt, Kaiya says with pride that, “I’ve made money at every one.” The young artist credits the inviting design of the mobile boutique with her early success. “Even though it’s a truck, from the moment you walk inside, it’s like being inside an intimate fashion boutique. There are racks of clothes on both sides, and shoes and jewelry,” Kaiya said excitedly, noting that the jewelry is hand made, but the designs are not hers.  The floors are made of wood, and the fixtures are beautiful. There’s even a dressing room in the back. “My fashion is a great way to get people to come together. They’re unusual styles, and they’re fun,” Kaiya said.

2190To date, Kaiya has done makeup for proms and parties, but she dreams of one day being a celebrity makeup artist. 

The young artists, supported by an encouraging family, are only 19 and 21 years old,  but they are already well on their way to making a mark on the worlds of art and fashion. Look for Kaiya’s mobile boutique at upcoming festivals in Suwanee Town Park, Duluth, and other venues. Curtis’ art is on display at various venues in metro Atlanta, including Gwinnett County. To check out an event schedule for both young artists, visit www.inthevoidspace.com and www.universesoulcouture.com