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The Gnarly Root's Next Sabbatical

You might say being a wayward traveler was destined for me from the very beginning. In elementary school I was sent off during the summers to live with family members, as was the case in Junior High. In High School, within months of turning legal age to drive, I bought a motorcycle and was traveling great distances by myself for a kid my age. After primary education, I went to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, but ended up leaving to work for the movie industry as a chef, which led to living in different communities based on what film I was working on. Then there was a move to Lake Tahoe for a few years before returning to Tucson to complete my education. Fortunately, I couldn’t afford to pay for school so I became an artist. Since then I travel more than I would have ever dreamed of.

The sunrise to the east.

Throughout all of this, I realized that I was “following my hearts desire”, a phrase I have used more over the last few years. Essentially, I realized that Spirit had a different plan for me, and I learned to follow it. It’s been an interesting journey, filled with stories to share, and, now, as an artist, I tend to follow the woods desire.

I’ve had pieces that fought me. One piece I started early on in my artistic pursuit didn’t seem to want to be finished, and years later someone asked me how much I wanted for my “doorstop” - which it became. In the end I finished it and realized that I wasn’t sculpting to the caliber it wanted to be when I started it, so it made me wait. That piece ended up being featured in a book. Another sculpture, a Crow, was damaged during shipping and returned. Once repaired, I took it to the next show and it fell off the pedestal I had it on. Nobody was around nor were there any wind gusts. I looked at it and there were only a couple of feather tips broke. My comment was that I was going to keep him before he really got hurt because he didn’t seem to want to leave. Ironically, years later the Fowler Museum out of UCLA called me to see if, by any chance, I still had that piece because they were interested in purchasing it. That gave me goosebumps because as they were asking, I had that piece on the shelf right in front of me. When I hung up, I said to him “You didn’t want to be in someone’s private collection, instead you wanted to be on display to the world”, of which he was in an exhibit for several years at the museum. There are other carvings that are connected to stories like this, but essentially, I learned to listen to their spirit.

The cattle to the south of me, The lights of Farmington can be seen in the distance at night.

Now, here I am in Hesperus, Colorado preparing to spend the next 30 days focusing on the Gnarly Root. I realized a few weeks ago that this piece seems to encompass everything about me. It seems like this piece is to be carved on the road, somewhere away from home. I’ve had this root for more years than I can remember, and it came to life while I was in Residency at the School for Advanced Research. Unfortunately, progress stopped after I left Santa Fe, then an opportunity arose over abuot six weeks ago to come to Durango and work on it without any interruptions.

Zucher welcoming me to his home. The growth on each side of the door is covering the second level of the dome.

As a result, I am living in a two-story dome house, with the second level being at ground level. That means I will be sleeping and working on it at times underground. Please join me on the next chapter of “The Gnarly Root Project”. You can review my Santa Fe experience first by reading the previous blogs. I am looking forward to sculpting what I feel, hear, and see as I continue with this adventure. Please join me by subscribing for email notifications when I post.

Sleeping well underground…. GQ


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