Current town: Beverly,MA
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1.) Tell us a little about where you’re from or where you grew up… and how that influences the type of art you’ve found yourself making?
I grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts. A short walking distance from my house was a 100 acre woods known as Bachelor’s Woods. It had everything a boy of adventure could want. Ancient burial grounds in front and the back side bordered the great Wenham Lake. To state that this exposure to nature had a profound influence on my art would be an understatement.
2.) Are there any specific locations here in New England that have had a profound meaning to you and your art? ie; Your schooling? A place of major inspiration or childhood memory?
One of my favorite inspirational places in New England is the village of Magnolia in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful little place with a small beach and a rocky coastal road. Magnolia is where my current studio / shop is located for the past 10 years.
3.) Dream client? Go.
My dream client would have just purchased an enormous house on the ocean with a beach littered with driftwood. They would commission me to clean the beach and use the wood to furnish their entire home. They would give me a room to use as a studio and tell me to call when it’s completed.
4.) Workplace or studio; a disaster or super organized?
My studio / shop is a total disaster. I’ve been Known to work with any and all tools at hand. Noisy ,dusty and quite a dangerous environment. Stay clear!
5.) Music while working? - Anything your listening to now that is pushing you or inspiring you.
At the start of a project I’m more inclined to let the music roar. Marley, Stones, Dead, Bowie, Talking Heads, Ramones, Middle Brother any kick-assed rhythmic noise will do. Towards the end of a project a lot of the time I find myself in total silence giving the piece my full attention.
6.) Your work shows an obvious love & passion for working with wood. Some in its original form found in nature and others are remnants of man-made forms. How do you decide which pieces to use and where do all these materials come from?
I like to think on some cosmic level that the pieces of wood find me versus I find the wood. I hunt beaches and woods for my natural pieces. I keep my ear to the ground for old barn demos or antique house renovations then I raid their dumpsters. Sometimes people contact me and barter the wood. I rarely pay money for any of the materials I use.
7.) What’s been the most challenging part of building a career as an artist? ie; family, $$$, time, inspiration, networking, etc…
All of the above with the exception of inspiration, I find that everywhere. The challenge is time management, that has never been a friend of mine..
8.) You can have one of your pieces displayed in/at anywhere of your choice….where does it go?
The ultimate honor for me would be placement of one or more of my pieces in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. I hope one day in my lifetime I will achieve this.
9.) Who was the most important person in your life guiding your direction as an artist?
The most important person guiding my direction as an artist when I was a child was my Mother. She has wonderful artistic talent herself and always encouraged me to pursue art. As an adult I would have to say my woodworking mentor of 20 years Mr. Dan Brummitt of Brummitt Woodworking in Manchester, Massachusetts.
10.) Knowing you’re constantly pushing boundaries from your work being functional sculpture for the home or yard… to large scale conceptual pieces. Where do you see your work going?
I see my work continuing to move towards blurring the lines between functionality and conceptual. Always reaching, learning, creating and moving in a forward direction. My goal is always to challenge myself and never become complacent with my craft.
11.) What’s your approach to starting a new piece when unlike traditional artists with a blank canvas or sketch book your searching for the unknown? In a sense are you allowing whatever materials you find to guide you or inspire you?
12.) What’s it like creating, operating and marketing your own one-of-a-kind reclaimed furnishings company?
For me there is nothing more gratifying than creating something functional out of a discarded pile of cracked old wood. Being able to honor the wood by giving it a second life.
My greatest marketing challenge is getting a potencial buyer to interact with my craft. It’s not enough to view my pieces in a photograph. They must be examined , touched and sat on to be fully appreciated.
13.) Most underrated artist out there right now you think should be in next years book?
Sue Staten Kassirer
14.) What’s next for you? Any future project or client where people can see your work?
I will be showing two of my newer chairs at a show called ‘Fine Art of Craft’ March 16th thru April 21 2013. This show is put on by the Marblehead Art Association, 8 Hooper St.Marblehead, Ma.**