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.
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.