Artist Vic Barr
Wood is beautiful in it's own right...
In 1993 Vic found himself in Boston for a convention. During a tour of the USS Constitution, he obtained several pieces of the oak timbers from the hull. With those pieces and a dexterous hand, Vic created "heritage pieces" - pens and desk sets that were sold with a Certificate of Authenticity only to those for whom the ship held special meaning. The emotional response from the owners of those pieces was overwhelming. Vic had realized his opus - art that was meaningful to both the artist and the buyer. "I am happiest in my workshop - making drawers fit perfectly, feeling them slide smoothly. And retaining the beauty of the wood. Wood is beautiful in it's own right, I don't want to cover it, disguise it, or put it on a production line. It should express itself and me. If I can reuse heritage woods that have a history or hold special meaning for the buyer, well, that's even more satisfying".
Vic currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and children. In constant demand, he continues sculpting wood into interesting, dynamic, and beautiful pieces while exhibiting his Matanda line of wood creations at various art shows and venues throughout the region including the Gateway Gallery in Clayton.
The Art of WoodClick thumbnail to view full-size
Figured Bocote and Birdseye box
Custom Art Pieces
Individuals often request pieces that are personal. With a variety of woods and finishes and an unending resource of ideas, Vic is available to create custom pieces which reflect your personal aesthetic or artistic bend. Feel free to contact Vic directly to discuss how he can design a unique piece which represents your own artistic vision.
Interview with the Artist - Vic Barr
What kind of art do you make?
I guess my work falls into about four categories. I design and work with the North American and exotic hardwoods of the world. I create contemporary jewelry chests and towers; I hand-turn a lot of writing instruments, pens and pencils, in those hardwoods and other materials, as well as other vessels; and recently I've begun to do some contemporary table-top sculptural pieces. The fourth category is custom designs and pieces to meet the needs of individual clients. I really enjoy the custom work because my clients give me the latitude to let my imagination enhance their basic requirements and, in return, I give them more than they asked for and a truly unique piece.
What is the best museum/ art gallery/ art exhibit you have ever been to?
We’re blessed in the St. Louis area with a wonderful art museum, which has hosted many wonderful exhibits through the years. I’d be hard pressed to select one above all the others, but the one I attended last year that featured the work of American abstract artists from the mid 20th century really impressed me. I’m not the world’s greatest fan of abstract art, but this collection of legendary works allowed me to see the genre with new appreciation.
Another of the exhibits that had a profound effect on me was a number of years ago that featured a number of well-known impressionist painters.
What draws you to the medium you use?
Through the years I painted in oils, acrylics and watercolor, sculpted my kids’ heads in clay, and did a lot of drawing in various media. When I started to explore a new medium, I studied it and built as many of my own tools as I was able. Eventually I realized that, while I was competent in the media, I really enjoyed designing and building the easels, pedestals, and other equipment in preparation for working in the latest medium. Then I discovered the exotic woods of the world, and there was no turning back. Besides the opportunity to work in woods whose names I couldn’t even pronounce, I began to realize that it seems to be a mission in life to show others the natural beauty that’s really under the bark of a tree. I never tire of it, and at latest count I’ve worked with eighty-seven different hardwoods from nearly every continent (there aren’t many trees in Antarctica).
Do you have pets? Tell about them...
Two border collies, Molly and MacDuff, allow my wife and me to live with them. Though from different litters, MacDuff has taken the role of tolerant big brother to the exuberant younger Molly. They’re endlessly entertaining, loving members of our family, and much easier to raise than our two children were.
Where do you get your inspiration?
As with most other artists and craftsmen I know, that varies. Sometimes inspiration is sparked by something a client wants, sometimes an unusual piece of wood will dictate the best way to exhibit its best features, sometimes a shape or curve or element in a museum piece suggests a new context , sometimes a doodle from a boring meeting matures into a new piece, sometimes …. Inspiration comes from whatever we’re ready to see.
If you could own any work of art in the world, what would it be and why?
That’s a tough one, but one work consistently rises above all others for me. Michelangelo’s Pieta has enchanted me since, as a teenager, I first saw pictures of the work. The incredible detail, the life, the feeling, that he brought out of that marble block stands as the ultimate tribute to the life and work of this master of every medium he chose.
What hobbies do you have?
I read a lot and I’m actively involved in the leadership of several nonprofit art organizations; Missouri Artisans Association, Greater St. Louis Art Association, and the St. Louis Woodworkers’ Guild. I also belong to the St. Louis Artists Guild and the National Association of Independent Artists.
How often do you create?
I’m in my shop nearly every day, and ideas for new pieces, work in progress and work that may evolve from something I’ve already done occupy at least a part of my mind on some level most of the time. Often, when I step into the shop I’ve already completed a mental image of a new creation down to the smallest detail. The thinking part of what I do is often the most exciting element in the work.
One of a Kind Jewelry BoxesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Where to Find Vic
Phone - (314) 997-1181
E-Mail - Vic@matanda.com