PHIL SMITH

AMERICAN MASTER

Designer - Artist - Craftsman

Great artists, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Hemingway, Cartier and Harry Winston, all have one thing in common… they were experts at their craft. It was through the fruits of their labor that enterprises were compelled to raise the standards of their industries.

Every industry has a preeminent expert; one whose resolute commitment to excellence far surpasses the remaining participants and raises the bar for all players wishing to compete.

In the classical style of architectural woodcarving there is one name that emerges above the rest - Phil Smith.

Like all the greats, Smith stands out from his contemporaries by exploring the threshold of design. Though always constrained by the historic boundaries necessary to the continuity of architecture, he is able to adventure to the edges where subtlety allows the greatest expression.

Through fine detailing and alterations, Smith constructs beauty in a manifestation of simple elegance.

Smith’s work is not purely artistic. For element design in architecture - 'context' is everything.

His creations do not develop in a vacuum but manifest from the inherent discipline needed in element design in architecture. Smith's talents are what elevates his work to a recognized art form.

There are many examples of stylized architectural carvings around the country but few come close to Smith’s work.

Yes, there are some beautiful creations to be sure but many lack the imperative of 'context' in which Smith excels. It is within 'context' that all great forms endure.

You will find no other with the ingenious ability, the scrupulous eye, the decisive stroke and the sensibilities that Phil Smith possesses.

Phil Smith is an American Master

Designer - Artist - Craftsman.

​"I carve to create beautiful things!"

Phil Smith's Bio -

Phil Smith was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana. In 1973 as a young man, received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Physical Geography (Hydrology) from Indiana University.

He then began his working career as an employee for The Department of Natural Resources.  After several years he became discontented and wasn't excited about his prospects at the DNR. He decided a move was in order and needed to make a career change.

Not sure of the path he wished to follow, he and his wife Beth took a year off to tour Europe. It was during this exploration that Smith fell in love with classical architecture and design.

He developed an admiration for the elegance and beauty of the ancient structures. While traveling through the timeworn towns, hamlets and crossroads, Smith had his epiphany.

It was here that an intense desire arose in him, a compelling aspiration to study and to ultimately master, the ancient skill of architectural wood carving. 

Determined to pursue this classical art form, Smith knew he could not enter the renowned German and British architectural carving schools without a portfolio of designs.

In order to pursue this artisan skill, Smith chanced everything he had learned and worked for and upon returning to Evansville took a low wage entry position at Karges Furniture, a company renowned for their classical designs.

It was here that he had the good fortune to fall under the tutelage of Karges' Master Carver, Socrates Paskalidis, a Greek master.  So he began his new career in the classical European tradition of excellence.

After several years apprenticeship he left Karges and in 1978 began his own architectural woodcarving business.

Through the years his passion deepened for the classical designs. He deliberated upon the elements and thoughtfully studied.  It was from this well of knowledge that his vision began to manifest through his designs and carvings.  

This evolution created a style distinctly his own. It wasn't long before he became recognized in the professional community as a classical architectural designer and carver.

Those searching for excellence in the classical styles were drawn to Smith's work. In 1991 Smith moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he located his architectural carving studio and quickly became known throughout the architectural and designer community. 

In 2015 he partnered with August and Joseph of Cincinnati, Ohio. This partnership freed him to engage in designing at an ever more refined level than in years past.  

Through this partnership, he is able to adventure to the edges of his potential... expanding his designs further to the architectural and designer communities in the USA and around the world. ​

HOW I DESIGN My PIECES...

There are several phases that go into producing a finished project. 

  • Phase 1 - The Design Concept - This involves determining the end goal. Exhaustive research is necessary to find prior art and documentation that supports the intended goal. This phase can be time consuming.
  • Phase 2 - Sketch Drawing - Information accumulated during research begins to reveal itself into a structured yet freehand sketch. These sketches are easily modified to reflect the desired results.
  • Phase 3 - Scaled Drawings - During this phase the final stylizing details and architectural sizings are completed. Scaled drawing are made to determine the exact size of each of the elements comprising the piece. These drawings confirm the concept and provide the necessary details and scale of the final piece.
  • Phase 4 - Full Size/Working Drawings -  Full scale drawings provide accurate visuals as the piece is constructed. Used as a reference, the pencil lines from the drawings are then tooled into the wood as the piece is created.

"Creation is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration! There must be a process to bring creative ideas to fruition, otherwise we fail. It is the practical transformation of the artistic into the world of purpose that allows one to realize an accomplishment." - Thomas Edison Partial

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

    • Eagle Centerpiece for opening of Robert A. Kennedy Library at Drayton Hall in Charleston, SC.
    • Federal Eagle Official Commemorative Bicentennial U.S. Constitution
    • Replacement Carvings for Indiana State House Restoration
    • Master Fellowship Indiana Arts Commision

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