Steve Smith has always embraced the unconventional. From the hand-painted Converse sneakers that he created in 2008 to the large installation that is now housed at Vancouver International Airport, Steve always creates pieces that follow the established aesthetic systems of Northwest Coast art yet reflect his innovative, playful style.
We were not sure what to think of this most recent red and yellow cedar bentwood box that Steve brought us; that is, until he explained it to us. Composed of square ovoids, rectangular 'Salmon-Trouthead' elements and geometric (as opposed to dynamic) lines, Steve's What the Hell is This box is a far cry from traditional formline design.
Steve explained that this is what a bentwood box design might look like if someone - with zero knowledge of Northwest Coast formline or composition - attempted to copy his own unique style. Thus, Steve has created a self-referential Northwest Coast Native artwork that is both conceptually complex and humourous. This is why we always love seeing new pieces by Steve!