I got started on this work in an art class at Dartmouth College.  It was there that I took several classes with Prof. Peter Robbie.  In the fall term of 1979 he had his students choose an object that normally wouldn't be made of wood, and... then had us try to carve it out of wood as "realistically" as possible.  I found an old leather bag, and a tuxedo, stuffed the tux most of the way into the bag, and viola, I had my piece.

After college, I worked at an architecture firm in San Francisco for a year, and determined that I did not want to be an architect.  In 1982, I went to Florida, and have been here since.


My subject matter is drawn from things that we tend to save, or even cherish long after they are no longer useful; an old jacket that may not fit anymore, but we still keep it in the back of the closet, quilts, farmer’s hats, and other items we might want to keep simply for the memories they hold.

I think the best art is something you didn’t expect to see, or hear, or taste, or smell. The best stories, are the ones you haven’t heard before. With my work I use context to give a sense that something is slightly amiss. To some extent, an interesting element of the work itself is where it’s hung. The viewer will usually think, “That’s an interesting jacket... but why is it is it hanging on the dining room wall?”  In some respects, it's like a magic trick.

I don't use models for my works, except to get the major features.  I invent all of the details.

In my quilts, I use contrasting colors, and shading to try to create some sort of visual energy. It sometimes isn’t used throughout an entire piece, and in some cases, where I’m looking for a subdued tone, barely at all.


©2020 by Fraser Smith.