Studio B Gallery is thrilled to present The Wood Vibe Tribe! A group exhibit featuring Andy Smith, Brad Rhadwood and a special guest artist Chris Boux. Join us for some wood wizardry, high vibes, music and yummy treats at the opening reception Friday, Feb 13, 7-11pm. Everyone invited!
Lasqueti Island based artist Brad Rhadwood, aka The Wood Whisperer, uses traditional as well as innovative techniques to transform salvaged wood of all nature into paintings, installations, and furniture. Allowing his unconscious to take the lead, Rhadwood listens for the stories the wood has to tell, using the knots and grain as guides to create his whimsical “wood spirits” – curious, sweet and sometimes “knotty” creatures that are clearly from some enchanted realm.
Brad Rhadwood moved to Canada from Portland, Oregon in 2008, where he began his wood whispering mission after he created a successful art show for his friend’s salon using discarded wood and art supplies found in his kitchen drawer. These days, Rhadwood teaches The Way of the Wood workshops wherever he can, touring markets and festivals as well as working as an art teacher at Saint James Music Academy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Andy Smith is the man behind Garden Elf Creations and the many magical mysterious wooden mandalas that have sprouted around the streets of Cumberland like mushrooms after rain. Working with sacred geometry and symbols such as the Flower of Life, and using only wood harvested with good intention, Smith creates intricate mandalas and mosaics that breathe hundreds of years’ worth of tree wisdom.
Andy Smith grew up in an end-of-the-road town called Likely in the central interior of British Columbia. Born to a tree-planting mother and lumberjack father, Andy was surrounded by wood since birth. After spending his teens in the unlikely (pun intended) City of Detroit, then living a nomadic life in British Columbia and doing work that did not truly fulfill him, Smith settled in the lively Village of Cumberland, a community that supports his love of art and music. Becoming a new father in 2013 inspired him to return to his roots and set off on a new path as a wood artist a year later in May 2014. “I was adamant that I wasn’t going to tell my daughter that she could be and do anything she wants while I was withering away at a job that I didn’t want.” Not even a year into his wood venture, Andy Smith is getting ready for his first art show and is planning a busy year of travelling to his favourite art and music festivals (one of his greatest passions) to showcase his work as well as build art installations for the events.
Even though each artist works with a very different aesthetic, both Rhadwood and Smith incorporate shared values in their art. Environmental responsibility combined with magic and a sense of humour resonate throughout their work. Together the two artists founded The Wood Vibe Tribe, a crew of wood artists. Says Rhadwood with a twinkle in his eye: “Established to be a base for fellow wood wizards to conspire and create as a collective, the Wood Vibe Tribe has many wood plans in store for the coming festival season. Stay tuned fir their official debut. Guaranteed wood times that make yew smile…”.
The Wood Vibe Tribe exhibit will also feature a special guest artist, Chris Boux, who works with driftwood to create whimsical, magical creatures.
Chris Boux’s artistic ambitions started when he was a young boy. What others thought of as “waste” or “garbage”, Chris saw as treasure. He was crafting with everything from wood, moss and rocks, to paper rolls, tin plates, and egg cartons. He thoroughly made the most of the school’s shops from grades 7-12, often spending lunch hours and breaks there by the later years. This led him to receiving a diploma in wood products manufacturing after three years at Red River Collegiate in his hometown Winnipeg and then out to the work force. During those working years the artist in Chris yearned to speak, and so he tried many mediums: charcoal, clay, painting, and so on. Over time it became clear that unlike working with a two dimensional plane, the freedom of three dimensions allowed the work to be understood from any angle. Chris began to embrace the potential of found art – a form where the materials or medium used is found and left roughly as is. He found wonderful pieces of metal at the train yards and began welding them into creatures; seeing the possibilities of these old rusty pieces, a want to give them life arose. After moving to Vancouver Island and starting a family, and after many walks along the Westcoast beaches, he came to realize the plethora of broken timbers lying at his feet was full of mysterious expressions just waiting to be brought to life. Here was something to get behind; it satisfies that child-like wonder, the search for treasure and a way to add value in a unique way to simple, broken, seemingly dead, pieces of wood. A new art found in found art!