2010 becomes my most productive year as a pure artist. I had lost my job that I held for 11 years and was going through many emotions from betrayal to inspired confidence.
At this time the economy was very poor and jobs were scarce. It was a struggle to hold onto my home but I fought and most important survived while trying to stay as positive and hopeful as possible.
My art became my refuge. Creating these works requires 100% attention as just in chess every move is important.
These works were 100% hand carved outdoors out of single piece wide boards of mahogany. I had very limited tools at the time which defined the style that defines me,
Other than HEARTBROKEN all the following works were created along Boathouse Row and the Azalea Garden behind the art museum in Philadelphia as I spent anywhere from 8- 10 hours indulged in my art.
This piece was made shortly before losing my job. I had befriended a gentleman with special needs that I learned passed away. We would share greetings and smiles and that was enough.
I utilized the four tiered "E" that I was using previously in carved wall reliefs in 2005 as well as an incomplete "N" to show hope.
I loved this beautiful piece of Spanish Cedar that had sap leaching to the top creating the speckles. It provided a great contrast to the natural cedar that was revealed through the carving of the letters.
I also loved the simplicity of this work as used only as straight rasp to outline the letters and one gouge to remove material inside the lines.
The first carving following my unemployment was No Man Shall Build Upon My Soil.
This piece was a self portrait of sorts defining who I was. The anvil represented strength. The hammer represented the drive and the apple purity and completeness.
The next work was Peace.
It was an homage to the classic tradition of throwing your sneakers onto electric lines whether to mark your territory or celebrate moving on.
One of the fun parts of creating this work was carving/creating space between the shoe lace and background.
The next work was The Resurrection.
Another self portrait as well as a trinity reference.
The outlet or power source is open, a gallon of milk showing purity and the light switch on open meaning giving light.
The one thing I will remember about this work is how loud and percussive it was when carving it.
Next carved Beautiful Wishes,
A self portrait as a strong racehorse on the move. I really enjoyed carving the shallow straps on this work.
I then carved I'm not afraid of dying.
This piece represented taking a bite out of life without care (or a cupcake) . I really liked carving the big jimmies (or sprinkles as some may say) as well as the punk quality of the paint job.
Next I created A Mother's Wisdom based off a poem I wrote.
As always whenever I would carve or create I was trying to take my craft to a new level. I designed the next work By the End of This Story You Will Be in Tears as another work in memory of my Nan passing.
At the time I thought it was pretty intricate, made a dedication to the mostly forgotten rrs.forgotten era/ beauty and craft of the 1920"s to 1960"s
I then carved FATHER/SON.
This piece refers to the bond and strand holding a father and son together. It is also a continuation of the hands theme I had been producing over the years. This work features the most detailed version while in a 2d format.
The string in the picture below was carved to be floating off the board to produce the connection.
The next work was The Duke,
This work was in memory of my Grandad as not only a reference to his love for fishing but also the tangled lines representing the journey of life.
I remember him saying as we both got older in life " where did all the time go?" and doing this blog chronicling the past 19 years I 'm questioning the same.
I remember this piece as well as the one following We Once Existed as being the most challenging I've ever carved due to the interlocking grain of the wood. Interlocked grain is difficult to carve as typically you can successfully carve a piece of wood in one direction but this as you move for instance upwards you hit a spot that wont let you travel upwards. Even carving across the grain is problematic in this situation so you must get a feel and adapt.
We Once Existed
I created this work as I viewed my nephew Ethan at the time who reminded me of myself. He was around 2 at the time but inquisitive and exploring life. It took me back to a moment that was as clear as it is now when I was 5 and asked my mother what happened when we died. Although I will not elaborate on her response it is loosely interpreted in this piece.
To end 2010 my art begins to shift as I begin to utilize a variety of experimental concepts merged into what I was defining as "abstract anatomy" which I later defined in 2012 for a book on the making of the work TO LOVE IS TO SAVE.
These works were based around my love for anatomy drawings using a female silhouette with a rhino horn type of growth that contained a "power source" as well as the extended head that showing as cross section of the inner works.
The first work completed in this four part series was :
It was based off the Fibonacci sequence as well as utilizing the power and energy of scrolls.
The breathe is taken in from the mouth and directed into the main power source of the large spiral and distributed to the left side of the scrolls. Reflective of religion and God.
I then created FREEDOM
This work shows the power source as more of a flower that energizes a flourishing system.
The piece features the four tiered "E" once again and moon/sun over mountain in the lettering of FREEDOM.
I then created UNWOKEN.
This work is a reference to a poem I wrote with the beginning phrase "I am a dream unwoken"
The power source is reminiscent of St Basil's cathedral in Russia as architecture has always played a role in my mind/designs.
The last piece in this series is SURRENDER.
This work is fueled be the dispersion of sense of smell featuring a glowing abstract pine cone type power source and vented central brain system.
Surrender was another work that was difficult to care due to the interlocked grain.
I feel like I have a lot more to explore and add to this series. I have a ton of concepts sketched out but as with much of my art one finding time for everything is the major issue.