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james bud smith

“I work, see, and feel with my hands with the hope that they will speak.” – James Smith

We often look for artists producing works well beyond the confines of common expectations. It can be said that “all is old” or “there is nothing new”, however, there are still some boundaries that are being challenged, especially in Native art forms. This is the case of Cherokee woodcarver James Smith.

Although James works with many subjects, it is the Native female form that possesses and drives his work. Among many in the native art world, the depiction of the nude female form is still considered taboo and, at times, even disgraceful. James Smith challenges this stricture by producing beautiful figuratives in much of his work, from non-nude suggestives to fully nude. He even encourages his Native students to attempt the female form…although with little success.

Lovetts is proud to bring the visionary, James Smith, to light in the Mid-West.

“A native of Cherokee, North Carolina, and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, I studied woodcarving at Cherokee High School under the well-known Native American sculptor, Amanda Crowe. Since 1994, I have taught contemporary and traditional Native American woodcarving techniques in grades 9-12. I have also been an instructor at Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina. I attended Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University in Sylva, North Carolina, and completed my BA degree in Humanities and my MA in Education at Oakland City University.

Sculpture is by nature a tactile experience. Wood sculpture is the most hands-on of any three-dimensional medium. I work with my hands; I see with my hands; I feel with my hands. I really had no choice other than to become a sculptor.

Being Native American brings many things to my art. I have something inside me that only other Native artists can understand. When you couple that innate spirit with individual experiences, you develop a distinctive style.

The majority of my recent work is reflective of my attempts to delve into areas of life, emotion, and experience that are unknown and often foreign to me, such as relationships and motherhood. I wish to express and explore these concepts in the simplest of terms and with the least amount of resistance in the sculpture. I work, see, and feel with my hands with the hope that they will speak.”

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