To Al's Family and Friends:
On Monday, November 20th, 2017, "Caveman" Al Smith passed away due to complications from a long-term illness. He was 83. His loss will be felt throughout the community in Anacortes, and among his friends and family across the country.
Though many would have liked to see his physical studio live on in perpetuity, it wasn't possible to maintain it in its rented space. Al's sculptures have been given to close friends and family. For the time being, and per Al's wishes, this website will represent the collection that was the Gallery of Small Sculptures.
“Caveman” Al lived and worked in his studio in Anacortes, Washington. A self-taught artist, Al built his first small sculpture while in grammar school: a tiny Christmas tree for his hospital-ridden younger brother. Soon after, he acquired his own Craftsman woodworking studio, and never stopped building.
He ingeniously and very patiently transformed artists’ materials, such as resin, vellum, polymers, and acrylic paint, into miniature sculptures of tiny plants, gardens, homes, and other structures, sometimes at scales of about 1/100th of size. Often, he used a CAD program (compatible with his PC that still runs Windows '98) to help him determine the best approach to constructing anything from cedar shingles to rose petals. His process was as fascinating and unique as the end product. He truly relished the challenge of making every detail of his sculptures appear as realistic as possible.
The “cave” where Al worked, a tiny house by the parking lot for the Keystone Center for the Arts, could have easily been missed the first time. Visitors looked for his healthy crop of roses leading to the front door. He was likely inside working on his latest sculpture, happy to introduce you to his works on display, many of which were for sale.
A visit to Caveman Al’s was not only an inspiration for artists—or those who could use some ideas on creating a small workspace—but for anyone who dreamt of making something, anything, whatever size.