My first wood carving was done in the late spring of 1995, I was a senior at King Low Heywood Thomas High School in Stamford, Connecticut. One of the assignments in my art class was to look through some art books and find a style of art that we liked and to copy it.
I dug through the large pile of books sprawled across the art-room table. The covers looked to me like a mish-mash sea of oil and acrylic. Out of all the books there was one on tribal art which stood out. It was full of wood carvings of both native American and African tribes. That form of expression seemed to have a real primitive appeal and it drew me in.
I borrowed a set of chisels from my grandfather, grabbed a log off my father’s firewood stack, and began to dig in! The end result was a rough Bart Simpson looking head. With these rudimentary tools, (the chisels weren’t even that sharp) I couldn’t get too deep into the wood, but I did my best with what I had to bring my vision to life. The image of the face seemed to jump out at me as soon as I picked up the wood. The mouth was carved out of a branch that was coming off the side of the log. As I sat out in the courtyard and chiseled and hammered, it felt natural to me and deep inside I knew this was my calling.
Over the next several years I began to accumulate quite the collection of chisels, hammers, saws, rasps and files. The majority of my work was done with a hammer and chisels. The finishing was done with a power sander. I carved about a half dozen pieces usually in the size of 1′ to 2 1/2′ tall. Most of them focused on the face in some sort of distorted way. Many of them were sold to private art collectors as soon as they were finished.
I have experimented with other mediums like clay, metal, CDs, and other n0n-traditional materials, but nothing gives me that same sense of connection to the earth and to my natural self as I feel when I work with wood.