Year Graduated: 2018
Beckett Smith was born in October of 1992 and lived in the same house in small town Aurelia IA all his life. His father started and ran a successful construction company and his mother handled all of the bookkeeping for the business. Smith lived in the town of about 1200 but worked on the family farm fixing and driving equipment. Growing up Beckett had many jobs from working construction for his dad to wind turbine tech and bicycle mechanic just to name a few. Throughout high school Smith drew and painted in art classes and non-art classes alike.
After graduation Beckett attended Western Iowa Tech Community College with an emphasis in graphic design. His transfer to the University of South Dakota was prompted by taking painting classes from USD graduate students teaching painting classes at WITCC. After a tour and a meeting with the art department chair, Smith knew this is where he would finish his college career. He transferred in as a graphic design major but found his niche in sculpture. The faculty really took Beckett under their wing and he attended Iron pours and metal casting conferences. This solidified the choice made by Smith to become a sculpture major.
Materials are an important part of my work, I often look to common building materials as a medium of choice. This is in part due to the ready availability of materials, and heavily draws on my previous experience working construction for my father. However, the way in which materials are used can be vastly different from their intended use. The literal weight of an object is of great interest in the work you see here today. Materials should not always be taken at face value or as an honest truth. I hope that my work gets people to stop and think about truth; how even if you feel familiar with something and you think you know it inside and out it warrants a closer look. I think those who do look closely gain more of an understanding of my work, but in contrast, those who quickly glance are an important part of these works being successful. Shadow has been a very intriguing subject to me but by its nature has been difficult to adopt. In my use of space I wanted to use lighting to create a mood that shares some of the same irony as my works. The result is a space that is as dim as it is well lit.
Much of my work can be seen as a comment on how things are not built to last in the “throwaway society” in which we live. Additionally, I am very interested in giving my pieces the appearance of a long history sometime before I ever touched them. In closing, I hope to fool a passing glance into thinking something is something else, and reward a keen observer.