I added the soft "cloud" hugging the pen and so was born my 2010 submission for the Esherick :
It took me three attempts at carving the jalepeno to get the right feel for the shape/scale of the work but just loved the final result.
The theme for the 2010 show was …..
While at my brother's house my mom asked if I knew what I was making for the exhibition yet. I knew I wanted to make a pen of sorts when my mom said she really liked the large pepper carving I made earlier in the year titled A Mother's Wisdom.
As the conversation continued it was her idea to create a pen the shape of a jalepeno pepper.
I added the soft "cloud" hugging the pen and so was born my 2010 submission for the Esherick :
I wanted to the pen cartridge to be easily replaced so incorporated the BIC pen design.
It took me three attempts at carving the jalepeno to get the right feel for the shape/scale of the work but just loved the final result.
The piece was accepted into the exhibition and won second place.
This piece will always remain a favorite of mine. Not only because it's just dang good! but most importantly because I could create a work with my mom. Someone whom as well as my dad has been there every step of my journey and always been nothing but proud and supportive of who I am.
2011 sees a good mix and moving forward of abstract as well as realistic creations for me with the standard kept of only using hand tools in my work.
The first work was based around reimagined hanger design.
As I take influences from so many places I feel it's best sometimes to take a more simplified from the heart John Lennon approach to my work as seen in the first work.
The challenge of this work was keeping a consistent roundness to the shape of the work.
The next piece was the last time I focused on creating a work focused on the hand. It once again is a simple gesture.
Dreams and Distances
This work is another tribute to my Nan that passed away. It shows my hand reaching for help.
It is a simple statement that in life if we are lucky enough we are granted the ability to follow our dreams which can be measured by the path or distance we travel. My journey and art is a tribute to those who helped me become who I have.
The piece is mounted on a shuffleboard top that I played a lot of on growing up before it was cut up.
The next piece was
OLD MAN and COW
This piece is another creating in the "abstract anatomy " style I was working on. I hid various images in the line work as well as subtracted parts to create a puzzle for the viewer to figure out. (if the so choose)
The last I created was
It represents femininity.
i liked creating the illusion of a cherry under glass for this work.
I was really excited to find out the theme for the 2011 Esherick show....
Continuing on with the theme of "Abstract Anatomy" I designed this clock to be a functional art piece. It was the first time I used a two inch thick mahogany single panel to create a work out of.
Walking into my grandparents house who were antique dealers/collectors you could help but be surrounded by clocks of all manners. I was excited to put my own unique spin on the form.
ILLUMINATE (the most beautiful night ever)
the piece was described as follows for the exhibition :
In 2012 I sent a random email to one of my favorite beer companies Dogfish Head to see if they would ever be interested in collaborating on projects. I not only loved their beer but also their style.
I was excited to hear back from Lindsey about creating their 5th Anniversary gifts that would be able to hold roughly 8 bottles of beer that mounted on the wall.
I created 21 "beer racks" for the first run that year. It really challenged me to get good at approaching production techniques as well as creating a "rustic" aesthetic by hand applying paints and distressing the pieces. There were two versions a white shark/grey background and green shark/brown background.
I have made roughly 90 of these over the years and truly enjoyed creating each one.
Another fun project was creating a side table as 10th Anniversary gifts starting in 2014. I used beautiful Sappele for the top and legs. They also featured a logo routed by hand out of maple on the face as well as storage box under the top.
I would make 21 over the next 4 years. I really loved these tables and there was a ton of handwork involved.
I also got the opportunity to create some custom beer taps including a Copper Sill influenced work for their new distilling endevor. A tap that had rotating handpainted blocks that spelled explore goodness in both standard letters and nautical flags. And lastly carved and painted lobster taps for their release of a chocolate lobster stout called CHOCLOBSTER.
I began to create the awards for their annual race called the DOGFISH DASH 2013. They were first a more rustic design that morphed into hand routed signs reflecting the design of the race and back to the rustic look last year.
I did two projects that really challenged my skills as I created a large amount of signs purely hand routing as well as painting/distressing.
The first was a project to replicate 50 signs with their American flag summer logo in 2014.
2,500 stars is a workout!!!!!
to view the blog on the creation of these works : www.brianfromthefuture.com/blog/january-20th-2015
Another sign project that is still my favorite and one I'm most proud of was the DOGFISH ON TAP signs due to the level of quality I produced.
I would say 99.997% of woodworking companies would make these signs with computerized machines. I do not have that luxury but I also feel I can make them faster/ more accurately and with way more love than any dumb machine.
The works featured a hand routed sign/ hand silk screened logo on chalkboard and hand created rust finish with the name of each bar that they were distributed to hanging below the sign.
process pics can be viewed at
I also created 40 signs with a friend and legend Tim Cloonan for the new Distilling endeavor. I was honored to finally collaborate with him.
the blog on the making of these can be viewed at :
I also created a sponsored chalkboard sign by Dogfish for a restaurant called GRAIN. The sign was pretty large with a bunch of components annnnnnd the next day my car engine went.
I had to take a bus to and from work for the following two weeks while my car was being worked on. I would carry components on the bus every day to work. I could tell the bus driver wasn't the happiest.
On the last day I carried the entire work to ship to the restaurant. It had to have weighed 45 pounds with the chains etc... The bus driver said "ok man that's enough, you can't bring stuff like that on here anymore you are gonna hurt somebody."
The fun of collaborating with Dogfish Head was also they were usually open to any ideas I threw at them for instance when the exhibition for the American Beer Conference was held in Philly in 2016 in which I made two works for.
The first was a giant beer trap based off the classic mouse trap called HOW TO CATCH A BEER THEIF that was bought by Allagash Brewing to be displayed at their brewery in Maine.
The second work was an homage to Sam Callagione the owner of Dogfish and lover of the high 5 and all things analog. By giving the machine a high 5 the hidden door opened to retrieve a beer inside. I then created a second one that featured a hand carved Namaste praying skeleton
Since 2012 I have been taking part in an annual event at the brewery in Milton called Analog A Go Go a festival of one off great beers/ records/ artisans/food trucks etc . In 2014 I made a bunch of wood burnings of some of my favorite people and quotes.
While I was setting up the Sam the owner of Dogfish came up to chat and liked the burnings.
(Sam and I at 2014 Analog)
He said he would like to do a wall full of them for the new hotel opening up in Lewes, DE which I was excited about. He then said he needed them by next week so needless say I got home and got to work. Sam gave me full artistic freedom to go ahead to pic whoever I wanted for the wall so from top left to right :
Lincoln, Lennon, Frank Zappa, Kermit Frog
Ali, Babe Ruth, Monroe, Mick Jagger
Pee Wee Herman, Einstein, Elvis, JFK
Don King, Mr. T, Mike Tyson, Willie Nelson
In 2016/2017 I made 4 oak ones with the shark logo as handles as well as 20 with hand routed logos and hand applied patinas
And last but definitely not least are three large signs that hang at the brewery that get thousands of looks a day....well because they are the "what's on tap" menus
Once again these signs were totally hand made/free hand routed with the rust being created on the steel with a fun mix of vinegar/salt and peroxide.
I really love these and always proud when I see them in person.
In 2012 I was asked to take part in an exhibition where artists were given a portion of a Poplar tree that stood next to Wharton Esherick's studio.
As a continuation on the themes/concepts I was working on at the time under "abstract anatomy" I designed and carved TO LOVE IS TO SAVE over a 5 month period
to love is to save tells the story of life ... the protective pulse, energy, celebration, fertility, unity, creation, existence, home, comfort and the afterlife.
This work was created over a two year period beginning in July of 2011. It is the next progression in exploring the concept of "abstract anatomy" that I was developing at the time.
This work is carved from one single board of two inch thick mahogany. Highly ornate, it incorporates a multitude of concepts while based around a poem I wrote titled "To Dream Without Dying"
Every time I design and create work I am trying to surpass the previous piece.
This work pushed my carving technique and tools to the limits. Creating the continuous spiral on the right side proved to me that anything was possible and that I could create works more technical than any advanced machine.
for a fully detailed description/ sketches and process photographs please visit:
I am immensely proud of this work. It glows. It breathes. It is jazz. It is meaningful. It is eternal.
The first completed work of 2014 was.....
I consider boxing to be the greatest artform and approach my art the same way.
I wanted to create a simple piece that defined me.
After UNDEFEATED I created an improvised piece.
To be a good improvisor is to be a great thinker, feeler, reactor. To see many steps ahead but always react to what is going on in the situation. The ability to improvise can only be developed by doing.
I took a two inch block of poplar without a design in mind, put on John Coltrane's A Love Supreme as well as Ben Schachter's works and many other jazz albums and created in the moment.
The following piece emerged.
The third piece made was a cabinet.
I had been wanting to make a carved door cabinet for some time when I had bought a pineapple. As much I have seen pineapples my whole life I had never truly examined the fruit compositionally nor it's history.
The pineapple exists on so many planes from the protective interlocked portion of the sweet fruit to the jazz section of the leaves.
The work was carved from two inch thick material giving me the ability to make it really pop off the background of the piece.
I framed the door with zebrawood to give exotic rich beautiful lines around the boarder then created a lush green cabinet to represent life and growth.
The next work revisits the theme of a vintage bathing suit that was created in 2010. Four years later the growth of my concepts and techniques are evident in this work.
first vintage bathing suit from 2010
This work was hand carved out of two inch thick mahogany showcasing all that I had learned about carving up until then.
Once again MISFRAGILITY shows an homage the beautiful era's of feminine bathing suits of the 1920's to 1960's while I interject playful futuristic concepts into the design.
I knew I wanted to do a play on the word MISS for the banner across the bathing suit as in MISS AMERICA. As I carved the piece it was the missing puzzle piece. At the time I knew someone immensely strong and fragile at the same time and the title reflected them.
MISFRAGILTY is the beauty in being fragile
original sketch for MISFRAGILITY below
I ordered a special carving gouge with a small radius to do the lettering on this work.
One of the challenges of this work was creating the hanger as realistically as possible. The wood has almost all been carved away from the back.
The rose is the only non wood part of the piece. When friend passed away it was given to me. I was standing next to the carving hanging on my wall and wanted to put it in a safe place and so it has stayed there since and truly completed the piece
2015 begins to see the shift into one of my mains concentrations of creating the worlds most unique handmade mirrors but the first piece I created was :
LALA is my reimagining of Michelangelo's Pieta.
One of the things I love about LALA is that starting at the center part then beginning to focus around the work will create a flutter effect as the work vibrates.
This piece becomes the second time I revisit the use of scrolls in my work. I always hand draw my scrolls as I want them to be natural and unique to themselves.
The scrolls of LALA led to a lot of sketching and the idea to create mirrors again and so was born the Bienvenido series over a snowstorm weekend in Philadelphia.
(sorry I do not have any current pictures with mirrors in the frames.
The Bienvenido series takes the traditional scroll used for hundreds of years in woodworks and modernizes it into a stronger bolder look with personality.
Following up the Bienvenido series but wanting to stick with the form of mirrors I developed the concept of Triunes.
As with much of my art previously functionality took second to form. In this series it was important to bring the viewer to the work and in doing so become surrounded and one with the work becoming the center of the powerful triune.
I revisited the concept of utilizing the natural saw marks on the wood from the sawmill to add a beautiful contrast to the work
Although I haven't had time to create more Triunes since these it is always something I yearn for as I have a ton of ideas but sadly not the time.
The Triune appears to be embedded into the wood and become a building block for my future "art mirrors"
The first Triune is painted in a fiery orange/red with the energy emulating from the center triangle.
The second Triune was designed to be an interlocked structure creating many triangles while having a soft rustic look.
The third Triune made takes design cues from lotus flower and it's meaning .
This work surrounds the viewer in a space of pure beauty and spirituality.
The floral influenced Triune leads directly to the making of:
DEAR LOVE is a praiseful prayer. Simple and complex at the same time this piece is carved from a single piece of 4" mahogany,
I wanted to test my skills on creating soft rippling folds that flow off one another.
Continuing with the floral concept I created the poetic work
Ode to Youth
I am represented as the snail traveling across the front of the work leaving behind a detailed pattern.
The sleigh bells are a trinity reference of 3 into 1.
The left side of the work are a fictitious type of leaf flourishing and bound to the frame with some much tension it is pulling it inward. This also leads to the idea of my Anastrata mirrors having a decorative side panel versus the mirror/frame
I took a good amount of time to create the string holding the leaves with a lot of undercutting to create a delicate realistic look.
The final work of this year was :
To this date I consider it my best achievement in combining design with technique carving an immensely fragile detailed piece
Apollo represents eternal beauty and love.
The original concept was drawn at the Philadelphia Art Museum during a Friday night jazz concert.
By the end of this creation the work was flexing so much it was like carving paper.
for a more detailed description and process pics of the work please visit :
Most importantly late October of 2015 begins a new life for me as I was lucky enough to get a chance to bring into my life the incredible spirit and soul of Wes.
LIFE ON HOLD
I was trying to design/create a work that captured a time period in my life where I had very little money but it never entered my thoughts as I was incredibly happy.
I called this period "LIFE ON HOLD", simply living in the moment.
The fun of the creation process is not knowing what will evolve whether it could be abstract or known.
I was at the bar having some very discounted drinks on a Monday night with a life long friend who was bartending.
I was down to my very last dollar. Looked down at it when the concept was staring back at me.
I really loved carving this work over a three month period. Especially trying to get the lettering as accurate as possible.
It encompassed all I loved about art from being Pop to traditional with even some scrolls!! I followed up LIFE ON HOLD WITH :
TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME
I think the message in this one is pretty clear but it was important to me to use the older version of the $100 bill.
I loved the ornate quality of it and was excited to bring the scroll work to a larger than life 3d work.
A special thanks to my dad who went to many banks trying to hunt down this version of the bill for me to scale off.
I began the Anastrata series as my first venture into making a stylized commercial series of mirrors.
I developed the series to be viewed in two halves. One side being the mirror and the other complimenting whether it be a beautiful natural piece of wood or whatever else I may design.
I also like every mirror I typically make like to design it so it can be hung and look beautiful in any direction.
There are many versions from abstract hand applied ink versions resembling Nebulas , fashion patterns to objects encased in glass.
I really love creating these works and just have endless ideas for where I can take this series.
Zycie Mirror (life mirror)
Sadly in June I received a call that my dear friend Mark had unexpectedly passed away. He was truly a brother. We hung out a lot especially playing disc golf where I felt like I was 14 again with no cares in the world.
He would always buy me a ticket to see Phish... and I really wasn't into Phish but had some of the best times of my life at Phish concerts with him … sorry guys in Phish.. play on
I carved this work in his memory. A beautiful thriving Poppy as the flower is symbolic of peace and mourning.
Mark is missed everyday but also I know watching out for me (and laughing at the ridiculous twists and turns of my life )
three brothers : me, yo bri and Mark.
Tragically 5 months later the great Tim Cloonan passed away. A true legend and someone who I could gripe about our pursuits in craft as he understood all too well.
Tim was the one who delivered the news to me that Mark had passed away as we were all friends. Still unbelievable to this day.
We were both attending Temple in the the jazz performance program and Tim was already a well respected musician/guitarist. We went on to work together for a bunch of years at Ibanez guitars before he went on to make some of the best electric basses this dang world has ever seen.
I was happy to finally collaborate on a project together for Dogfish Head. I felt honored and was proud that we created killer work together.
to be viewed at
I began to carve a panel for a mirror in memory of time reflective of who he was but have still not finished but I see it everyday and that's enough for now.
I made Tim's urn, something I didn't ever think I would have to do but another person I miss much everyday.
Tim's urn was reflective of his basses with the figured maple and wenge stripe mimicking the laminations on the back of his bass neck.
The final work of 2016 was
AMERICA (you broke my heart)
This work was created in the summer of 2016 featuring one of my signature works in the form of runny fried eggs. I first turn the yolk section on the lather before band sawing the outside shape before hand carving the fried egg.
At the time I was carving a piece and listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album (possibly the best album ever recorded?) and thinking have we evolved.
This piece is 8' x 4' with alternating panels of rustic boards and cleaner maple. The background is denim.
I really love this work and happy I made it. It took a lot of work to hand shape all of them and seemed like a never ending task.
for a more detailed blog on this work including video of me turning an egg on the lathe please visit:
PORTRAIT OF HOPE
This piece is meant to radiate energy/hope. It is symbolic of life, birth and the power of existence.
It is another carving I made that starts to trick the eye into motion if you stare at certain places then refocus around.
I began this carving in 2015 but would work on it then of give up on it many times.
One of the things I've learned is that when I put a piece aside when I return to it I have become a better artist/thinker and can figure out what really needs to be improved.
NEW MOON OVER MAUI
This piece was handcarved from one panel of Sapele. It represents the most peace filled moment of my life from August 2015.
I was 10,000 feet a top Haleakalā in Maui watching both an incredible sunset and awaiting the super moon to rise.
I saw a small neon peach orange light from afar. A color that I had never seen before so I dismissed it as the moon.
I went back to looking at the sunset and when I turned back around realized in fact it was the moon.
It was indescribable. Sadly the photos I took were destroyed in a big ol' wave that took me out.
This is one of the only pics I have from the sunset
The colors in this work are representative of what I saw pinks to bright oranges with the tips of each curve lightly painted with a blue.
This work features another progression of the spiral with ribbons of clouds that truly chase and flutter the eye around the work.
di·vin·i·ty | \ də-ˈvi-nə-tē \
plural divinitiesDefinition of divinity
2 : the quality or state of being divine
The final piece created this year was Divinity. A simple statement of heavenly peace.
In the original sketch and carving the whole frame had this pattern around the border.
I would bring it into work and let it sit against the wall and stare at it trying to figure it out like many pieces at this time. Then remove some more material then repeat. My coworker was quite amused as he felt I was just going to get to the point where there was nothing left.
The piece was worked down from 4 inch thick material to this but when I got to how it looks now I knew it was perfect.
It features beautiful blues/whites /pinks with the top tips painted gold.
Meant to blend into a white wall it brings the viewer into a peaceful serene universe.
I'MMORTAL is derivative off of a series of wall mirrors I began creating in 2016 with the viewer placing their eyes into the skull and questioning AM I MORTAL OR AM I IMMORTAL?
Hand carved from a piece of poplar it was a fun challenge carving the angles to create crisp geometric patterns that change as the viewer moves around the work.
At the time I planned on creating a series of decorative skulls like this but sadly have not had the time yet to revisit.
BIENVENIDO #5 (piece in process)
I am 10 months into hand carving this work out of one piece of Sapele. As I have described before woodcarving is a lot like boxing and this work has been a 15 round battle.
I truly only thought it would take 4-6 weeks but when one spiral would be changed all would due how they were clustered.
Some of the influences on this work are
-group of people interacting
-decorative ornamentation on suits of armor
It is the 5th in the series of spiral mirrors meant to modernize the classic spiral used in traditional furniture.