February 15th marked the day of UVW’s field trip to the Alpine Art Museum. With a slightly larger showing than expected, we met with Dennis Smith for a behind-the-scenes tour. Dennis Smith is a world-renowned sculptor with art displays all over the US and in many different countries. Born and raised in the Alpine area, Dennis attended The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark. As a new, struggling, artist, Dennis had to make the decision to keep pushing forward with his sculpting, or to call it quits and get a ‘real’ job. Dennis was determined to keep creating. He used his father’s old barn as a studio and dug his own firing pit into the side of the hill, piecing it together with whatever scraps he could find. Dennis drew much of his inspiration from his childhood, and with patience and diligence his hard work turned into a lifelong career.
Though most known for his sculpting, Dennis is also accomplished with paints and mixed media, and many of his artworks are on display in the Alpine Art Museum. Today, Dennis does much of his work at the museum, in a large studio that he shares with like-minds.
The UVW tour followed Dennis as he explained the process of sculpting room by room. Along the way, we had a chance to see some of his current works in progress, starting with clay molds and wax casts, all the way to pieces that are in the final stages of completion. It was a tour for all the senses, where we learned not only through sight and sound, but a lot of touching as well.
After our walk through the inner workings of the Alpine Art Museum, Dennis let us into his studio, a true artist’s haven. With just about every wall surface covered, and even a few of his own contraptions hanging from the ceiling, there was plenty to look at and enjoy as he talked about his own creative process and took questions from the group.
One didn’t have to have personal investment in 3D arts to enjoy the creative merit of the tour. Dennis was very friendly, laid back, and informative and it was a great opportunity to hear from an artist who has turned his craft into a successful living. It’s safe to say the UVW members attending enjoyed the tour immensely for it’s mix of fascinating details, inspiration, and a good scattering of humor. We’d like to thank Dennis for a wonderful evening and we hope that anyone who missed it will catch it next time, when we inevitably do it again.