Smyrna artist establishes his niche with fun frogs

By Marcus E. Howard

SMYRNA ó Beau Smith has an affinity for frogs.

"People are just drawn to frogs," the Smyrna artist said. And, they are drawn to the human-size copper frog sculptures he has created and sold around the area, and around the world, over the last 20 years.

"Everything that I do is done by hand, itís done by me and itís a separate sculpture onto itself," said Smith, 47, a full-time artist who works in his garage studio.

"So every piece is special."

One of his frogs can be found reading on the steps of Smyrna Library. Another is sitting on a rock by the lake behind the Smyrna Community Center.

Smith said he and his brother, Alexander Smith of Charleston, S.C., also an artist, learned the trade of making the frog sculptures from their father, Charles Smith, who is an artist in Charleston, and the original copper frog designer.

In the early 1980s, a patron asked the elder Smith to sculpt a frog. The finished sculpture was something both men really liked and since then, the frog sculptures have grown in popularity.

"Every time heíd put one out in a gallery, it sold," Smith remembered.

Sculpting the frogs is rather simple, Smith said.

He said a typical frog sculpture takes one to two weeks of intense labor and then another week to apply the greenish patina.

"I use copper, brass, stainless steel and I braze it Ė which is taking brass and fusing the copper with the brass rod," Smith said. "Itís just a beautiful way to work with the copper."

The made-to-order sculptures sell for between $2,000 to $5,000. Heís sold hundreds over the years, including 30 last year.

Smithís frog sculptures can be found at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Thrasher Park in Norcross, and at other public places and residences in metro Atlanta and across the country, like Park-Half Moon public library in Clifton Park, N.Y. He said he has also sold them to people in other countries.

Vinings businessman Gordon Johnson and his wife, Shirley, recently purchased one of Smithís frogs for the renovated lobby of the Goldís Gym they own in Douglasville.

Johnson said the couple fell in love with the frogs Smith made for the city of Smyrna and asked him to make one curling a dumbbell.

"I wanted something so that when people came in the gym ... it would give them something to talk about," Johnson said.

Smith, who is also a writer and painter, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985. He lives in Smyrna with his son, Julian, 10. He also designs websites, including his own at

He said he plans to begin mass-producing his frog sculptures in the near future to make them available to more people. "What I really get out of it, is that they bring joy to others," he said.

"They help heal peoplesí hearts and they open up peoplesí hearts. They give them laughter and fun. Thatís a very magical thing when you can combine beauty with fun and laughter."


© 2009

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