Anton Smit is an established South African sculptor, widely known for his overwhelming heads and monumental sculptures. His body of work comprises human figures, heads, masks, speed figures and abstracts, using mostly steel, metal, sand casting, fiberglass and also bronze. His graceful statues have been shown and sold overseas – in Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, California, Bonn, Hamburg, Greece, Dubai and Koln in Germany. Anton forms his own language through sculpture, the manifestation of his passion for expression and his profound faith. His work aims to discover miracles and thus focuses on the interruption of regularity, on those moments that are deeply irregular, the moments that stand out.A: Firstly, your art practice is centred on sculpture, what is it about this medium that you feel drawn to use for your artistic interpretation?
AS: Sculpture came to me like a second, parallel version of myself. Once I became acquainted with it – I could think of no other thing – it dominated all aspects of my life. It’s like creating more than an image but another dimension.
A:Your works have been described as a sensory experience, incorporating enormous structural mastery to incredibly fine detail. Where do you draw your inspiration from for your works?
AS: I believe that man is a spiritual being having an earthly experience. My work portrays stepping out of the known matrix into the realm of the spirit.
A: Your work is situated throughout the world in libraries, wine estates, cooperate head offices, art centres and galleries. How do you approach each project? Do you specifically team your work to reflect the environment that you’re exhibiting at or choose the environments to best reflect your work?
AS: I mostly see my work isolated in vast open moonscapes, but yes I do frequently see a space – mostly in a gallery – then I instantly see a piece standing there.
A:Your sculptures vary widely in size and medium, utilising metal, stone, bronze and fibreglass. How to you distinguish which medium would best reflect the piece?
AS: The final medium grows in my mind as I sculpt the work in clay. I always make a rubber mould and cast an edition in my self-styled polymer based material and an edition in bronze.
A: For your large scale sculptures, the viewer can become immersed with the work. What do you want the audience to take away from it?
AS: The privilege of getting an e-mail from a total stranger saying that such and such a piece that he saw at a gallery really moved him. This is the greatest reward – to touch people. I am forever grateful for being able to do this.
A: You’ve been a practising artist since you were 16, a long time! Are there any specific pieces or exhibitions that you are particularly proud of?
AS: Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and ex-minister Pik Botha owns some of my sculptures. Anton Rupert bought one of my works for the Rembrandt Foundation, I have works included in the permanent collections of the Pretoria Art Museum, Charles Graff also owns a variety of my work which is part of the Graff/Delaire Collection
A: Do you feel that there is more to accomplish within your practice, be it theme, medium, size or place?
AS: I feel that I am just beginning to learn my craft and that there is so much to do in theme, style medium, size and place.
A: And lastly, what future projects have you got coming up?
AS: I am very much looking forward to a large interactive exhibition in Pretoria -South Africa next year called COOL CAPITAL, where I’ll be able to experiment as much as I like.
See Anton’s artwork in the current issue of Aesthetica out now www.aestheticamagazine.com/shop
For more info contact: Roelien Smit (+27) (0) 82 653 7659 (South Africa)
Images courtesy Anton Smit