Sunday, 29 May 2011

Shawn Smith

I first became aware of Shawn Smith's work on Twitter and instantly wanted to find out more about him. Smith creates 3D sculptures from a variety of hand dyed woods like Bass, Balsa, Plywood etc. He begins by sketching out the form of his subject matter to understand the scale and proportions of his next work. Then, after selecting his chosen material, he first shapes then dyes the individual pieces to their desired size and colour.
His sculptures intentionally resemble the look of a pixilated digital image, the inspiration source of which is found online. Smith creates the sculptures painstakingly, piece by piece, building the little nuggets of wood to recreate the original 2D image.
Taken from Smith’s website he describes his art as:
'My work investigates the slippery intersection between the digital world and reality. Specifically, I am interested in how we experience nature through technology.  When we see images of nature on TV or on a computer screen, we feel that we are seeing nature but we are really only seeing patterns of pixilated light.'
One of my favourite artists of all time, Georges Seurat, was the founder of 'Pointillism,' a movement  which involves the application of thousands of tiny strokes of pure colour with a paintbrush to build a whole image, if you will, the original CMYK process. He first discovered this effective technique in 1886 and today, over a century later and after many technical advancements, we can draw parallels in the ethos and the almost scientific approach in process of Seurat's work and Smith’s sculpture. I find it fascinating when you can take a modern art form and suggest the trace of history back to another artist who, no doubt, gained as much enjoyment and fulfilment from painting his work as Smith obviously does when building his.
If you want to see more of Smith’s work take a look at his website: or you can also find out more about Seurat at

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