By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO
Store owners Tom and Donna Bain came across Smiths sculptures featured in a magazine. They contacted the artist, interested in selling his pieces.
“They actually drove down to Atlanta to get some of my work and sell it in their store, said Smith.
Smith tells Window Shopping the Green that the East River Road store is the only local shop that sells his copper creations. Through Bains, shoppers can also have Smith sculpt them a customized frog figurine.
We tell him what you want, and he will draw a sketch for you to approve, said Bains store employee Deane Hiles.
Smith followed in the footsteps of his dexterous father, also a sculptor, and makes a living by selling his amphibian figures. Im an artist, and a lot of artists dont sell their work, he said.
Smith said hes been crafting these statues for the past 25 years. Ive been doing this ever since I got out of art school, he said. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied film and film animation. Im kind of an all-around artist,” he said. “Frog sculptures are what I do for my bread and butter.
The frogs have a greenish hue, which Smith explained is the natural patina of copper. Frogs go well in the garden theyre very personable, said Smith, whose artwork is currently on display in Atlanta Botanical Garden and was previously featured in a redbankgreen Where Have I Seen This?
Its a fairly prestigious place for them to be, and a lot of people get to see them there, he said.
According to Smith, the price range for the copper creatures varies greatly, as does the size of the sculptures. Id say [they sell for] anywhere between $35 and $15,000, he said.
Merchandise at Bain’s is not limited to patio furniture. Other items for sale include beach accessories, scarves, kitchenware and jewelry, including a line designed by store employee Leigh Heagney.
The other cool thing about Donna and Tom is that they try to bring in merchandise that is American-made, said Bains store employee Fiona Abrahamsen. So they deal with all American vendors in small, privatized companies.
Smith said that he believes his work has personality and charm and reflects the kind of people he does business with.
What theyre about is touching people, he said. Warming their hearts and giving them a smile. Thats what theyre all about. I find that family businesses are in harmony with that idea.