Environmental Advocacy Through Art
Artist Geoffrey C. Smith is a sculptor, painter, and photographer who grew up in northern California surrounded by the art of nature. He fished for salmon in the Pacific Ocean, hunted ducks in San Pablo Bay, and constantly kept an eye peeled for the wildlife surrounding him. He also learned the nature of art at a young age. At age 15, his grandfather taught him woodcarving, starting with discarded walnut wood that was originally intended for producing Browning rifles. Geoffrey flourished at turning wood into intricate duck decoys. He won carving contests and turned the hobby into a business during high school and college at Montana State.
Even though he finished with an economics degree, the economics of art started his career path. After selling a bronze swan sculpture, Geoffrey realized he could make a living from his art. He traveled to wildlife art shows and safari club conventions to display his work, building a following across the country. After the success of his mobile gallery, he established his first store in Billings, Montana. His art was inspired by the abundant wildlife outside his door.
On his way to an African excursion 35 years ago, Geoffrey visited Florida’s Treasure Coast and decided to settle in Stuart. He immediately incorporated the abundant wildlife he saw daily into his work. Manatees congregate in the canal behind his studio in the winter and he encounters other creatures regularly on outdoor adventures. For instance, he spotted an endangered Florida scrub jay on a biking adventure, motivating him to carve the social bird. Recently on a kayak trip on the Loxahatchee River, his paddle bumped a dozing alligator, which was as surprised as he was (both went quietly their separate ways).
“Respect for the environment as a whole is key to my work. Wildlife is all around us every day if you’re paying attention,” Geoffrey shared of his life’s work. Compelled by his exquisite replication of nature, his clients are mostly hunters, conservationists, and nature enthusiasts. “But I want my art to recruit new people to conservation,” he added.
Geoffrey is also sharing his passion for nature and art with the community. He partners with Martin County to host schoolchildren in his studio. His sailfish sculpture has become an iconic symbol of the City of Stuart. He also uses his art to support local conservation organizations. He is a longtime supporter of this Foundation, donating proceeds from works like charming Florida grasshopper sparrow sculpture, and other pieces for auctions.
Geoffrey is currently working on a series of monumental size sculptures of native Florida wildlife including pelicans, ibises, alligators, sandhill cranes, and panthers. These works are 50% larger than the living creatures. He is also dreaming up an immersive, interactive exhibit to help connect more people to wild Florida. We’re proud to partner with Geoffrey in educating the public about protecting the environment and conserving the animals he masterfully recreates with art.
If you would like to learn more about Geoffrey, view his collections, and take a virtual tour of his galleries, find him online: geoffreycsmith.com/.