Trees as Public Art

Todd C. Smith has been climbing trees for a very long time and for the past four years he has incorporated this leisure activity into an art practice. During his residency at Bernheim Forest, he constructed a pod shelter out of recycled materials testing the limits on sustainable living. It was placed in one of the trees there and in a perfomative art sort of way, Todd spent the night in the pod to see if it could withstand the elements. Read more about Todd’s nest project.

The director for KMAC, Aldy Milliken, met Todd at Bernheim during his artist talk and invited him to be a part of the exciting changes the museum was undertaking. Through this connection, Todd saw an opportunity and submitted a proposal to be an artist in residence at KMAC.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to develop work in a public atmosphere within the realm of craft. Usually I work outside, so this challenged me to make a piece within the walls of a museum,” Todd said. “When I was climbing daily, I took hundreds of photos from the viewpoint of looking down. I wanted to convey the depth but the 2-d image is limited. I discovered the 3-D camera and felt this would be a great way to bring my experience inside.”

Todd’s end result, Transport 1, (1 for the first work in this series) is installed on the third floor. The simple white box and plain handles seem to blend into the wall with the exception of the black eye viewer protruding from the top. He says, “this was done as to not give any clue to the viewer before they looked into it.” The piece utilizes multiple senses. Sight, being the obvious,  touch-grasping the wooden handles, smell-the scent of the forest is emitted and eventually sound-birds and the open air.

IMG_8307 IMG_7896The 3-D images change weekly, so be sure to stop by and take a look. Todd will be expanding upon this idea, hopefully to incorporate video.

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