This week we are featuring Kevin Chrislip of Art of the Tree! Take a look at his work and read his story below:
‘For millennia the tree has been celebrated as a silent sentinel symbolizing life. It has been represented in many art forms, literature, and poetry.
The staggering beauty of Chrislip’s trees is the result of many hours dedicated to manipulating wire into amazing sculptures.
“Nature is the inspiration for my art. I love rocks and trees, Copper wire has allowed me to combing the natural beauty of gems and minerals with various tree shapes and styles” says Chrislip, who began sculpting trees with wire over thirty years ago.
The search for resources on which to secure his trees led him to beautiful rocks and minerals. This development steered him to the Elsing Gem and Mineral Museum in Tulsa, OK, where he was befriended by Wilard Elsing, the founder of the museum. Elsing became an avid collector of Chsislip’s trees and sold dozens of them through the museum.
Most of the trees fall into 5 styles: Wind Blown, Bonsai style, Dragon Tree, Gnarly Oak, Elm, and Weeping Willow. Created from copper wire, most are silver plated and all have a color finish of non tarnishing baked enamel. The bases are natural minerals and crystals, mostly quartz mined in Arkansas and sometimes drusy quartz, or amethyst. Some of the trees are created on Wavelight, also mined in Arkansas, In addition Chrislip works with a few other various minerals.
“I was involved in the graphic arts industry for over 25 years and, after not making trees for several years, in 2013 I decided to return to sculpting full-time. I am enjoying my return to tree making and discovering new techniques and materials”
The process if sculpting wire trees is done almost completely by hand with minimal use of tools. It requires hours and hours of twisting wire. A lot of time is spent securing the trees to the rock and mineral bases and to make the roots look natural. After that is accomplished, Chrislip shapes the wires into place to form the species of tree he is creating.
“Two of my favorite parts of the process are finding just the right rock for the tree I am working on and then the final stage when I am shaping the branches into place. Ultimately my favorite part if being an artist is the experience of meeting people and sharing stories about trees, rocks, art, and life” said Chrislip.’