What brought you to Brooklyn?

I liked the vibe and pace of Brooklyn, it wasn’t quite the speed of the city. I lived there for about a year in the east village and then moved.  That was ten years ago. This is the first neighborhood where I really know my neighbors; it feels like home in my otherwise transient life.

Where did you learn to become a wood sculptor?

I think I learned how to take some chances with my life, and I think/hope that is translating into my sculpting. I’m self-taught, I have been learning as I go for the past two years.

What tools do you use?

I bought a chisel from Home Depot and a friend gave me his old rubber hammer. A close friend and brother in crime gave me his chisel set when I started getting more serious as a gift. From there I started figuring out what a straight line is, and what is flat, and what shadows do on smooth surfaces. Sanding, sanding, sanding, 80-800 grit. About three months ago I bought a chainsaw and three weeks ago a grinder.  Both are great in taking away the material you don’t want more quickly. It’s sped up the process some, but there is no tool better than chiseling by hand that I have tried so far. Full control, full awareness to the surface you are working on, full understanding of where you are at with the piece.

Where is the wood from, do you have a preference for the type of tree?

The wood is from the neighborhood of Fort Greene, from the park, from the felled trees on the streets. The day after the tornado I rented a U-Haul truck and got a great number of pieces. I’m good for this winter into the spring. I have some preferences to the wood, yes. The older the tree, the more beautiful the grain. I’ve gotten some gems from that park and various storms.

Does your creative process while working on a project vary greatly as a songwriter?

I think the creative process is very similar. I think there is an overlap. It is still all about what you have to say with the material that you have to say it with. With wood, it feels real good to use my hands and have my body more involved with creating the idea… It’s a great rhythm, it unfolds, and it talks back. I get pumped like I would if I just wrote a melody that I feel strongly about. The physical feels real different. Ten hours on woodwork makes for swollen hands and a sore back. Figuring out how to balance it out. But to create a point of view, or a memory/feeling with the medium, I would say I approach it similarly. When/If I have something to say then the piece speaks and I go for it, if I don’t then I try to hold off. I don’t want to make another piece of polished wood, or a polished song… looking to speak through it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a couple of pieces (6) from a memory growing up. At my grandparent’s house, my cousins and I used to want to sleep in this one room in the house. My uncle when he was a teenager used to paint on this wall in that room. He made a very cool world on that wall, a make-believe universe, and I remember the shapes and landscape vividly. I’d dream about it. I wanted to make a body of work that could have lived in that place. It always made for good vibes going to bed in that room. I want to have some physical bubbles that could have floated around, grown, lived in that universe. The other body of work (6 pieces) is part of an installation about Fort Greene Park. It is an installation of music and a recreation of the area where these 6 pieces will live.

— Keep up to date with Adam on Twitter & Facebook


4 Responses to “Interview with Sculptor & Songwriter Adam Mugavero”

  1. Peter Kyle

    Adam is a wonderful artist. It’s exciting seeing him move so fluidly between music and sculpture. Thanks for writing this nice article about his work!

  2. john

    wow, i’d love to send you some naturally fallen wood from the pacific northwest, juniper, redwood…i dont know they carve but they look great uncut..

  3. Frank Mugavero

    Forget that we share the same last name! Adam Mugavero shows lots of talent of expression with his wood carvings. I can dream as I follow the lines and tell my own story to myself. It’s like taking a short trip and feels very safe. His music is gentle yet provacative. No hiding here. Listen carefully and you cry. With the wood I reach out and touch a story, with his song he reached out and touches my soul.
    Frank Mugavero

    October 27, 2010 at 12:52 am

  4. Marla

    Great article. You are truly an artist and so, so creative. You create songs that are like pieces of art and your sculptures sing out your poetry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers