Volta Voloshin-Smith grew up in Moldova during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and spent her childhood in bread lines, eating potatoes and noodles, and coveting the candy bars she could only experience through commercials on television.
Now, the 30-year-old illustrator and motion artist, who lives in a one-bedroom studio apartment in The Cedars with her husband, regularly eats tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches and doughnuts. She also paints them, designing whimsical, colorful food pieces through her art business called Color Snack.
"I love to eat," she says. "And I love the bigger idea of food, that it brings people together. In Moldova, there was only one culture. I have an appreciation for all the cultures in America. And the easiest way to experience that is through food."
Voloshin-Smith's art studio is the dining room table, which sits bathed in light from the floor-to-ceiling windows in her industrial, lofty space. The table is covered in small canvases, brushes, a well-used watercolor palette and nifty watercolor pens.
She sells ready-made prints as well as commissions, and she also does live painting demonstrations at events in addition to teaching painting classes. But one of her favorite things to do is animate her paintings into GIFs.
"Adding movement to a painting just really makes it stand out," she says.
Voloshin-Smith moved to the United States in 2002 and has lived in Dallas for almost 8 years. She says she's fallen in love with the food and the many cultures she can experience here.
"One of the reasons we left Moldova is because it's very hard to make a living there," she says. "There was a shortage of food. Then, when we separated from the Soviet Union, the TVs were flooded with commercials of food that was not available where we were."
Today, she says, she loves to illustrate any type of food — "but tacos and doughnuts have a special place in my heart."
She grew up drawing, taking inspiration from the Sailor Moon cartoon. A few years ago, she was working full-time at J.C. Penney in Plano while studying for her MBA when she stumbled upon a set of watercolors at a discount store.
"I was craving a creative outlet," she says. "I love watercolors because all the colors come in one palette. You don't have to get a lot of tubes, and it's not super messy. You can literally create anywhere."
Follow her on Instagram at @colorsnack to catch live painting events.