Phillip K Smith III

PHILLIP K. SMITH, III ( American 1972 – )

Phillip K. Smith III received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. From his Palm Desert, CA studio, he creates light-based work that draws upon ideas of space, form, color, light + shadow, environment, and change. Building upon the foundation of work established by artists such as Turrell, Irwin, Brancusi, Noland, and others, Smith continually distills his concepts to create intensely physical, seemingly ephemeral, and highly meditative works that affect perception, breath, and pace of experience. Incorporating a sense of change in his work through shifting color or the movement of the sun, Smith challenges us to slow down and align ourselves with his work so that we can better see and hear the beauty that is in front of us.

Featured in hundreds of online and print publications, Smith has been featured in the 2008 annual review in Art in America, his work, Inhale/Exhale, is included on the cover and interior of Chris Van Ueffelen’s book, 500 x Art In Public and his project Lucid Stead is included in Henry M. Sayre’s A World of Art, the go-to textbook for college level art history courses. In 2010, he was the Artist-in-Residence at the Palm Springs Art Museum and in the Spring of 2015 participated in the Artist Residency Program at Dartmouth College, whose lineage includes some of the most innovative artists of the last century, including Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Donald Judd. Included in the exhibition, Smooth Operations: Substance and Surface in Southern California Art, Smith’s work was exhibited alongside artists such as Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, DeWain Valentine, and Craig Kauffman at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster CA. Subsequently, he was offered a solo exhibition at that same institution. In October 2013, he launched Lucid Stead in Joshua Tree CA, which became an international phenomenon receiving tremendous international attention.  Shortly thereafter, Los Angeles Times named Smith as one of the three “Faces to Watch in Art 2014”. In April of 2014, Smith launched Reflection Field, a colossal light installation that once again landed him in the Los Angeles Times with a full-page article about the installation, Smith, and his practice. He has since been commissioned to create a permanent, light-based installation for the City of West Hollywood and the City of Bellevue, WA.

In the Spring of 2016, Smith presented Portals, an 85’ diameter pavilion for light at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. In the Fall of 2016, Smith will have a solo exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum and will present a large scale temporary installation on Main Beach in Laguna Beach, CA.


Phillip K. Smith, III


  • Bachelor of Architecture – Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, 1996
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts – Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, 1995
  • European Honors Program – Rhode Island School of Design, Rome, Italy, 1994 – 1995

Selected Public Art & Projects

  • City of Palm Springs, CA
  • City of Cathedral City, CA
  • City of Arlington, VA
  • City of Walnut Creek, CA
  • City of Nashville, TN
  • Veterans Administration, Palo Alto, CA
  • City of Oklahoma City, OK
  • County of Maricopa, Phoenix, AZ
  • Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
  • University of La Verne, La Verne, CA
  • City of Kansas City, MO
  • City of Indio, CA
  • City of Palm Desert, CA
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA
  • City of Shenzhen, China
  • City of Chongquing, China
  • Sound Transit, Bellevue, WA


  •  Solo    – Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH – “Light & Shadow Works” – 2015
  • Group – Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Indio, CA – “Reflection Field” – 2014
  • Group – Museum of Art & History, Lancaster, CA – “Lucid Stead: Four Windows & a Doorway” – 2014
  • Solo    – Royale Projects, Palm Desert, CA – “Lightworks”
  • Group – U.C. Riverside, Palm Desert, CA – “Big: The Audacity of Scale” – 2013
  • Group – Museum of Art & History, Lancaster, CA – “Smooth Operations” – 2012
  • Solo    – Royale Projects, Indian Wells, CA – “PKS3: New Work” – 2010
  • Solo    – Palm Springs Art Museum – “Aperture” installation – 2010
  • Group – Royale Projects, Indian Wells, CA – “Le Petit Objet” – 2009
  • Solo    – Royale Projects, Indian Wells, CA – “Line to Line” Installation – 2009
  • Solo    – University of La Verne, CA – “Organic Geometries: Public Art Projects of Phillip K. Smith, III”– 2008
  • Group – Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, Idyllwild, CA – 2008
  • Group – Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA – “The Altered Book Project” – 2007
  • Group – Mobile Living Exhibition – New York City, NY – “Cylinders Space” – 2006

Selected Bibliography

Print Publications:

  • Azure Magazine, “Capture the Light,” by David Sokol – July/Aug 2014
  • LA Times, Calendar (cover story), “Painting the Sky”, by Deborah Vankin – April 12, 2014
  • LA Times, “Faces to Watch 2014: ART,” (Smith listed as 1 of 3 artists) by Deborah Vankin – 2013
  • Architect Magazine, “The Very Best Projects of 2013” (Lucid Stead) – December 2013
  • Palm Springs Life (Art & Culture), “Higher Desert Art,” by Shana Nys Dambrot – Winter/Spring 2013
  • New York Spaces, “Optic Nerve” by Marjorie Gage, “The Goods” Special Issue – 2012
  • 500 x Art in Public. Ed. Chris Van Uffelen. Salenstein, Switzerland: Braun AG – 2011
  • Multi-Disciplinary Practice. Ed. William Carpenter. Decatur, GA: Lightroom Studio – 2010
  • Art in America, “2007 Public Art in Review” (‘Infinity Column’ selected as 1 of 21 projects) – August 2008
  • Desert Living, “Well Rounded” by Kimberly Nichols – September 2008
  • Dune Magazine, “Transformative Power” by Frieda Noone – April/ May 2008
  • Step Magazine, “Divine Transformation” by Mary Fichter – July/ August 2008
  • Palm Springs Life, Art + Culture, “Timeless Attraction” by Veronica Fernandez – Winter / Spring 2006
  • Aishti Magazine, “Cylinders Rising out of the Desert” by Kimberly Nichols – April/ May 2005


  •, “Reflection Field” – 2014
  •, “Reflection Field – 2014
  •, “Reflection Field” – 2014
  •, “Lucid Stead” – 2013
  •, “Lucid Stead” – 2013
  •, “Aperture” – 2010
  •, “Inhale/Exhale” – 2010
  •, “Line to Line” – 2009
  • David, “Transformed Flower” – 2008


  • “Think Big: Designing and Implementing Large Scale Public Art Sculpture” – YoloArts Workshop – 2012
  • Design One-Architecture Studio Adjunct Professor – Northeastern University – 2000
  • A-2 Core Architecture Studio Professor – Boston Architectural Center – 1997–98
  • Invited Critic (ongoing): Harvard Graduate School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Boston Architectural Center, Northeastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, City College of New York, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Arizona State, CalPoly Pomona, SCI–ARC, Woodbury University

Visiting Artist & Lectures

  • Artist-in-Residence – Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH – 2015
  • “Experiments in Light, Space, Form and Color” – Palm Springs Art Museum & University of La Verne – 2014
  • “Phillip K. Smith, III: New Work” – Auburn University “Outlaws + Renegades” Lecture Series – 2014
  • Artist-in-Residence – Palm Springs Art Museum – 2010