Friday, February 20, 2009

Wood Is Art - Part II

In my first post I stated the purpose of this blog is to discuss the process of creating art that is about wood. To clarify further, I see my artistic mission being to show that wood doesn't need a "function" to justify its existence. I often get comments about how I should make tables, doors, or other functional objects (one woman actually thought my work would make nice trivets but I don't know if that counts because she is/was drunk and crazy) but I believe that making "things" devalues the wood. Wood is art and should be accepted for its own beauty, not for what it "does."


  1. ha! you and i are on opposite sides right now as i'm wanting my art to have more purpose than decorating a wall. i hear what you are saying about your work though.

  2. and now i'm hoping i dont sound bad by saying that as i'm not judging anyone's work but MINE.
    i've been thinking about this and how interesting it is the journey's artists take, the directions they feel inspired to go towards. I know you know how to make a table and isn't it amazing the beautiful work you make without it being 'functional'. i think its a challenge that you have met and succeeded at, and i'm enjoying watching where you take your work. i hope i can cross over to the other side and succeed at making functional work out of the materials I am interested in.

  3. The functional vs. nonfunctional issue is interesting and overlaps with the dreaded craft vs art dichotomy. From everything I've observed functionality actually devalues art but at the same time it can make it easier to sell. It is probably a smart move to start making a living with functional work, make a name for yourself, then get rich with the non-functional.

  4. Janet Van Fleet wasn't able to post this comment because of some problems with Google, so I'm posting it for her:

    I don't know about the financial calculus; right now I think it's hard going for both functional and non-functional work. But I think your manifesto about wood is right on, really honorable and exciting. Good for you! It's kind of horrible how humans need to make things serve them and bend to their uses. Even though you are certainly manipulating the wood, it is (as it were) for a higher purpose.

    I also wondered if you had looked into side-lighting plexi and routing out the places where you want the light to come out.

    Your work is really cooking along, Rob. Good for you!!


  5. Thanks Janet. I haven't looked into the plexiglas thing yet but will start playing
    with it again soon. I just received my new LEDs. By the way, Jerry William (the building-sized teddy bear granite sculptor) was telling me that there is a neon light system that uses a remote transmitter to light the neon. He says it is very expensive but it would be interesting to find out what is meant by "very."