I was born and raised in Delaware, and now live in southern New Jersey with my wife Beth. For the past 30+ years I have worked at an oil refinery in Delaware. I have no background in art, and no training in carving. My first attempt at carving was at the age of 48, after having cut down a large oak tree in our front yard. I have always been drawn to wood, and can remember wanting to try carving since I was young. I had only some amateur experience working with wood, but after my first carving I was hooked. The first few years were spent making mostly sculptures of animals. I’ve also always liked larger carvings, and always from a single piece of wood. After a few years I had the urge to try a life size person, wanting the challenge of sculpting the human anatomy and musculature. To that end, I tend to choose athletes as subjects. My pieces are more about turning a piece of a tree into a piece of art though, than they are about the subject portrayed. To me, anything made from wood is beautiful, and my goal is not to create a perfect, blemish free woodcarving, but rather to showcase the beauty of each tree, with all of it’s unique grain, color, knots, imperfections, insect tunnels, internal bark, etc. I never use stain or paint, only clear coating, so that everything can be seen in it’s natural state.
This is where it all began. I quickly realized that though I am pretty handy with a chainsaw, I have zero ability to carve with one. After a few cuts to get to the picture on the left, the rest was done with chisels. The first hundred hours or so was actually done using a carpenters bench chisel, as I had no knowledge at all of what real carving chisels were. After I could do no more with that, I took a trip to the local Woodcraft store and bought my first half dozen or so carving gouges. This 50 inch tall, Red Oak Gargoyle took 375 hours to carve over a three and a half month period. It was completely from my imagination, having nothing to copy from, and just took shape as it progressed, with no real firm idea in mind at the outset. I sold my very first carving for 12,000 dollars. Not bad for not knowing what I was doing.