COVER STORY – Debbie Smith, July Spotlight Artist

Born and raised in Concord, North Carolina, Debbie Smith earned her Bachelor of Science teaching degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She majored in Ceramics, Fabrics and Fibers and Jewelry. After teaching year of art in Cabarrus County, NC, she moved to Florida and taught for 22 years at Southridge Senior High School.  Juggling children and marriage, in the mid 80’s she earned her Master of Computer Education degree from Nova Southeastern University. Leaving her Art Department Head and Advanced Placement, Art Instructor position behind, she decided to move from Miami to Palm Bay and teach art at Southwest Middle School.

Retiring in 2010 after 32 years of teaching, she is creating life sized, symbolic, figurative female sculptures, mini sculptures, clay masks with a sea shore influence, wall sculptures and functional pottery.  Debbie maintains her studio, Mad Hand Studio, in Palm Bay, FL. MAD Hand Studio doesn’t mean I am angry, it means I am crazy about being able to create in my own studio at home! I have been cooped up for so long in the art classroom, trying to keep order, that I have a multitude of feelings and messages I need to get out.  My work is symbolic, and my sculptures are figurative busts with a surprise.  I try to lure the viewer to look at the back of the sculpture to find out what is really happening or just add an annoying fly to the work to provoke the viewer.  Modigliani, Dali and Picasso along with Medieval influences, Bible stories and personal experiences are conveyed through the clay with textures, lines, and repeat shapes. My hope is that you will see a part of yourself in the artwork.


I also create masks, wall plaques, miniature whimsical sculptures and functional pottery.  The masks are light hearted and have shells pressed into the surface.  Wall plaques are carved and stamped pictures with symbols.  Whimsical miniatures are less than 6” tall and just fun figures with animal and human characteristics combined. The love of clay has me captivated for now and I am thoroughly enjoying it. She exhibits at local galleries and shows.

You may view more of her artwork at Breakers Art Gallery at 206 Highway A1A Satellite Beach.