Drawing is my key to the secret garden, my way down the rabbit hole, my looking glass. Wood is my canvas, preferably reclaimed withered and worn wood, as it comes preloaded and charged with natural character. I am a wood whisperer,”I see wood people,” but more importantly listen to the wood and all it has to tell!
When I create a wood spirit, I work from the preexisting knots and grains, using them as guides. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing both traditional and innovative techniques, my unconscious is the undisputed project manager.
Along my journey I have learned the less I question and more I surrender to the flow of creative energy, the stronger, easier and more fun the “work” becomes. It can be difficult to find at times but once I’m “in the flow,” the results surprise even me. “Did I do that?”
Recently I discovered some childhood drawings: simple, crayoned creatures that resonate deeply with my wood spirits. Inspired and invigorated by a renewed sense of wonder, and humbly in awe by how the mystery of creation occurs, I venture onward through the enchanted realms of spirit and imagination. May the forest be with yew.
Rhadwood’s first wood whispering spell happened in 2005 while living in Portland. A friend asked him to do a show carte blanche in a salon where he worked. Since he didn’t have enough money to buy canvases, Rhadwood used whatever he could find. In the basement: wood. In the kitchen drawer: sharpies, white out and stain pens for touching up scratched furniture. Divine accident or order? It’s all wood either way!
His main influences come from skateboard and graffiti culture, but being a child of the 80’s it doesn’t take long to spot an E.T, Gremlin or Furby hiding out somewhere in there.
He recalls the early days of skateboards, blackbooks and graffiti tags: “In the beginning, I did art mostly for my friends. If it made them smile or snicker it was a keeper. If it was a tag or some street art that stayed up for more than a week in a visible spot, payday!” That sense of humour is still found in many of his current works and don’t be surprised if you see a wood spirit posted on a telephone pole in a city near you.
When not making his “treepy” art Mr. Rhadwood is an art teacher at Saint James Music Academy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He also continues to teach The Way of The Wood Workshops whenever he can.
Rhadwood spends most of his summers touring to markets and festivals. 2015 summer will have him aboard the “Sea to Seed” sailing expedition followed by a string of electronic music and art festivals. His blog and website FriendsWithWood.com has showcased his and other talented wood whisperers since 2013. Ever eager to expand his knowledge of all things wood, the next branching out involves a crew of fellow wood wizards called Wood Vibe Tribe.