The Mindful Stead

See how American artist Phillip K. Smith illustrates contemplation through interactive art objects. 

Photograph by Lance Gerber

Phillip K. Smith has dust and creosote bushes in his blood. The artist grew up in the desert, an environment that inspired Lucid Stead, a customized 70-year-old homestead on five acres of land in the Mojave. Smith added mirrors to the exterior of the structure, reflecting the landscape around it, with panels for the door and windows lit from within with LED lights that glowed at night with gradients of color.

“Ultimately, the project extended between mountain ranges,” he says. “The desert is so powerful, so it fully involved and reflects it.”

The audience for Lucid Stead had a very deliberate experience of just being there. “People became very conscious of their surroundings and hyperaware of the quiet,” says Smith.

His newest project, Reflection Field, took the luminescent, mirrored panels from the homestead and proportionally tripled their size, creating a 21st Stonehenge in a field at Coachella, the music festival at Indio, California.

“I dropped this very quiet, contemplative piece into this huge gathering,” he says. “It allowed these moments where someone may have been surrounded by 10,000 people, but if they just looked up they could see the reflection of clouds and sunset moving across these mirrors, and feel alone. It also became a place to hang out, like a lounge, in the evening when the lights came on.”

More photos by Lance Gerber:


Photos by Steve King:

This web extra provides additional information related to an article titled, “Seeing the Power of Transformation,” which appeared in the October 2014 issue of Mindful magazine.