Meet the artist – Irv Smoot

This is one of a series of blogs about the artists that you will find in the Gallery at Studio 12 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

Irv Smoot – Wood Inlay

To me a surf board is a work of art, a sculpture. It is the perfect expression of form following function.  When I carve my small surf board sculptures I am trying to capture that line where the board meets the wave. When I am out looking for my driftwood bases I want the same expression of fluid motion in the wave that powers the board.”

Irv Smoot and his wife have been annual visitors to the Outer Banks for
over 30 years. He and his wife have always had a love of water, making their home in tidewater St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Irv says “ we feel a kinship to Avon,NC for we have always had a love of the water and the people who depend on it for their living.

Irv’s interest in art in all forms began in childhood. “I lived out in the boondocks and I frequently amused myself with long hikes where I explored the woods and streams around my house. I collected insects, fossils, rocks and minerals. I would sketch and make sculptures out of found objects. I have worked in a variety of mediums but, wood, oil painting, pen and pencil seem to be my focus areas.” 

As a young adult in college Irv roomed with a gifted painter and sculptor who shared his skills with Irv while he was working on his degree in biology. As a biologist Irv was always looking for connections between the form of objects and their function. This in turn led him to his avocation as a luthier. Irv has played the guitar and mandolin for decades.  As Irv states “ String instruments fascinate me,especially the mandolin. I find the sculptural design of the F-style mandolin to be a perfect melding of form and function. Each piece of tonewood must be hand carved in a way that will bring out the best aesthetically and musically in that instrument.”

Irv’s eldest son is an avid surfer. On the families week long visits to Hatteras Island Irv and his son would stop by the surf shops in Avon and Buxton. Even though Irv does not surf himself he is drawn to the fluid curves that are essential to the design of a surfboard. Irv says “To me a surf board is a work of art, a sculpture. It is the perfect expression of form following function.  When I carve my small sculptures I am trying to capture that line where the board meets the wave. When I am out looking for my driftwood bases I want the same expression of fluid motion in the wave that powers the board.”

Artist Irv Smoot

Irv is now in his 42nd year of teaching science to middle school
students. He says that he still enjoys seeing the light bulbs go on in young minds; “I am committed to getting teen agers to see a connection between the arts and sciences. As I wind down my teaching career I hope to make my music and art avocation a full time endeavor.  I believe in the maxim, “If you love your career you will never work a day in your life.”  I hope to continue in that fashion.

Irv says that for all of his work he hopes that his creations generate a memory, a feeling of a moment in time, an experience that is meaningful. “I
would wish that my art would make them joyful.”

s hand carved surfboard and drift word sculptures, Christmas ornaments and magnets from the Studio 12 gallery in person or online! http://www.studio12hatteras.com/shopping

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