My work represents comment on the world in which I live. As an artist, my duty is to capture the world as it affects me. The work I create are inspirations that penetrate my consciousness so much that they are manifested in art. I express these feelings through the ancient art of woodcarving.
I was told that my first steps as a child were toward a bowl of shellac in my father’s woodworking shop. I grew up helping the family in refinishing and repairing antique furniture. Knowing the difference in woods such as oak, cedar, walnut, mahogany and other hardwoods was part of my childhood. Stripping a Duncan Phyfe dining room set, and giving it a satin sheen finish was my introduction to life. At an early age, my creative sense combined with this knowledge of refinishing furniture, lead me to woodcarving. Woodcarving allows me to capture and express thought on a given subject. I am more interested in capturing artistic expression than in managing technique. My works are all carved by using a flat blade chisel, mallet, and a notion or thought in mind. The work results in the beauty of giving a second life, to the wood.
The goal is to capture the naked reality, circumstance, and experience, for the purpose of documentation. As an artist I want to leave a record to represent my individual perception of “Now”. The themes in the carvings run the gamut from religion, and social justice, to blues, patriotism, and humanity. Such titles as Mississippi Blues, He Heard My Cry, Tree of Eternal Life, Brothers of the Square, and Gumbo People represent commentaries. I am moved by the political system, and how it touches the masses.
Every work has meaning. The wood speaks to me. The wood has lived. What are the stories that the trees tell? When in sync with the wood, it is my responsibility to bring those stories to life. Carving is a dance between the wood and myself. It is as if we know each other. Underlying the abstract is a conceptual message that is often religious and justice conscious.
Wilson Lee, Jr, lives in Nashville, TN and spends a considerable amount of time exhibiting at art and music festivals. He can be reached at email@example.com.