York City government officials, economic-development pros and businesspeople are hoping to reinvent York through the talents of creative people. Allow us to introduce you to the folks who could be the key to unlocking York's future. Using video, photos and text, we're putting together a database of sorts, showcasing local artists of all stripes. Check out the other artists we've tracked down and featured. We call this section "I Art York."
Remember that scene in Se7en when Brad Pitt's character opens the box?
That "gut-wrenching moment" is the defining feature of slow horror, a cinematic and literary genre to which a York County author's first book belongs.
Jonathan Smith, who grew up in York City, is self-publishing "The Mansion," a novel inspired by Smith's time as a caretaker of a 150-year-old home in Wellsville.
A year or so later, Smith woke up from "a very uncomfortable dream."
"It was kind of like the house called out to me one night and said, 'Hey, don't forget about me,'" Smith, 28, said.
That experience, and that dream, inspired the novel Smith will release in a few months.
Smith said he found a love of writing in high school, when an English teacher praised a short film he'd written. The teacher, Smith said, told him never to stop writing.
Like most writers, Smith has a day job. A former construction worker, Smith now drives a truck for a living.
But, he's found a way to indulge his writing talent on the road. About six months ago, he bought a digital recorder and started recording his thoughts from the driver's seat.
Smith lives in Shiloh now but said he wants to return to the city.
His ultimate dream, Smith said, is to convert an old Greyhound bus into a soup kitchen.
The self-publishing movement means authors can live the life of punk bands, living out of vans and traveling everywhere, Smith said.
"I want to be able to feed the homeless and just sell books," he said.
HOW HE THINKS YORK COULD IMPROVE ITS ARTS SCENE: Smith said he loves downtown York -- especially the York Emporium, "my favorite place on Earth" -- but he'd like to see the arts scene move into the neighborhoods. "I think so far we're doing OK, but now it's time to move on from the downtown scene and spread out," he said.
HOW TO CONTACT HIM: Smith has an author's page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/willowdalemansion. The page features Smith's daily "idle thoughts," which he transcribes with a typewriter to index cards, then photographs.