GALO: Apart from creating Halloween art, you co-founded the Ghoultide Gathering in Michigan, a place where Halloween art is brought to life by some 30 artists (this year it took place on September 28th). What prompted you to create this unique marketplace where both artists and people who share a love for Halloween can join in celebration of creativity together? Have the festivities lived up to your expectations in terms of the artwork displayed as well as the feedback from attendees/consumers?

SS: Ghoultide Gathering came about after being involved in promoting holiday shows on the West Coast for a few years. My partner and I relocated to Michigan and discovered there was no Halloween-specific art show in the Midwest. The timing must have been right because in seven years the show has had to relocate to larger venues to accommodate crowds and the growing number of artists who want to participate. Consumers have discovered original artwork at this event that cannot be found in any other marketplace. The level of creativity continues to exceed our expectations.

GALO: A piece that particularly stands out at these events is your life-size pumpkin head, with its frolicking stem and wide, evil grin, complete with razor sharp teeth. This year, artist Joyce Stahl of Enchanted Productions, stuck her head in one. Exactly how large are these pieces and is such interaction commonplace with them? Some of these are made out to be scarecrow greeters, I believe.

SS: The giant pumpkin heads were created for the first Ghoultide just for promotion purposes. We allowed local shops to display them in their windows in the weeks leading up to the event. The day of the show, we placed them on the bodies of large scarecrows outside the venue. They attracted a great deal of attention and, of course, everyone wanted to place them over their head for photos. We’ve even worn them a couple times during Halloween as costumes.

"Ancestor Spirit" by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

“Ancestor Spirit” by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

GALO: Many have coined you as a “doll maker.” Do you see yourself as a creator of dolls or rather a sculptor of one-of-a-kind handmade items? Or perhaps, you have an entirely different definition of who you are? Some would argue that dolls usually render an image of a child playing with them, and your pieces can be seen as decorative or collectible items that belong on a mantelpiece, rather than something one would qualify as a toy.

SS: I would prefer to be known as a sculptor, but I recognize the idea of art dolls as a category that my pieces might fit into. Of course, I do not encourage anyone to “play with” my creations. Much of the work is rather fragile due to the elements they are comprised of.

"Hag of the Woods" by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

“Hag of the Woods” by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

GALO: One piece that particularly stood out to me was the pumpkin witch, with her drooping right eyelid and numerous bulging warts, garbed in a brown vintage dress and a matching pointy hat. Around her waist, one can see an assortment of trinkets, one of which is a small bone. Can you tell us a little bit more about this particular piece, inclusive of the fabric used and whether the trinkets were made by you or found in various antique stores?

SS: The Hag of the Woods is a character I had always fantasized about. I imagined her as a very old pumpkin witch, who is a kind spirit that uses her magic to keep harmony in the forest where she lives. She gathers pods, bones, seeds, and whatever else she finds to use in her spells — the costuming of the hag evolved by draping her armature with all types of vintage and antique fabrics, until I settled on colors I felt worked with her story. The fabrics I use come from everywhere: antique shops, flea-markets, and tag sales. Her pointed hat is covered in horse-hair fabric salvaged from an antique armchair. The accessories on her belt are found objects that seemed to work with her story.

"Old Crone" by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

“Old Crone” by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

GALO: Speaking of which, you often use vintage and antique objects, inclusive of old fabrics, in your pieces, looking for just the right item to complete the look of your characters. And if you cannot find one to complete the piece, you create one of your own. On your Web site, you also say that you “discover ideas hidden in treasures of the past.” What fascinates you and draws you toward using outside pieces in your artwork that have been lying around (more often than not, collecting dust) in antique shops? I know you said that you “love giving new life to something that once had a purpose, but whose time has run out.”

SS: The beauty in antique and vintage objects is often overlooked. These items, be they architectural pieces or 100-year-old fabrics, have stood the test of time and often give me inspiration just in their existence. After moving to the Midwest, I discovered treasures that might have ended up in landfills had I not recycled them into my art. Unfortunately, they are becoming harder to find and cannot usually be duplicated.

GALO: Out of all the pieces you have made over the years from Frankenstein and his bride to a grinning watermelon armed with what appear to be fireworks, do you have a particular favorite?

SS: Of course it is very difficult to select a favorite piece, just as it would be for a parent to select a favorite child. They have all held the spotlight, but I remember those most that got considerable attention. One in particular is The Old Pumpkin Man. His posture and clothing may have been inspired by my partner’s father, who was in his late 80s when I created it. I still own it and it brings back memories every time it is displayed.

Pictured: Artist Scott Smith at work in his studio. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

Pictured: Artist Scott Smith at work in his studio. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.

GALO: Halloween is well-known for its pumpkin carving. Apart from creating figurines and life-size sculptures, do you partake in this tradition and carve your own pumpkins and perhaps sell them as well (much like artists Ray Villafane and Scott Cummins)? If not, is this something you might want to undertake in the future?

SS: Pumpkin carving has always fascinated me, but apart from a few special requests I have not ventured into that art form. It may be because the finished product has such a short lifespan.

GALO: Due to the high demand for your pieces, I believe you no longer sell through stores. Besides at festivals and fairs, how can people end up owning a piece of your Halloween art? And have you thought about possibly doing reproduction pieces of your art, or do you find it most appealing for yourself and your customers to provide them with a piece that no one else will ever own?

SS: Every year I rethink how I might be able introduce my work to a new audience. In the past, I have had pieces reproduced and manufactured overseas. These reproductions never lived up to my expectations, so I decided to focus on making only originals. Besides the art shows I attend, I have held a few successful Web sales, each with a different theme. Most appealing to me is the reaction of my customers in person as they select a piece, but I realize the limitations. I feel fortunate to have such a following, and after 13 years in the business, I guess I am in it for the long haul.

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For more information regarding Scott Smith’s artwork, please visit

Featured image: “Scary Stories” by Scott Smith. Photo Courtesy of: Rucus Studio/Scott Smith.