The name Walkwood is, of course, a shortening of the phrase a “walk in the woods.”
This theme began as a remembrance of the many hours that my grandfather and I would
spend hiking on his wooded property near his home in Pennsylvania. And this theme
is just that basic; what one might find on such a day spent with nature. And, that
you are more likely to stumble upon the Divine on any footpath through a forest or
field than any structure or building consecrated by man.
But these are not just pretty calendar pictures. If that is what you see, then
I would challenge you to look closer. They are not picture-perfect postcards. There
is beauty here of course, but not without flaws. Nature is grand, but there are always
signs of the decay that signals the continuing cycle of endings and rebirth.
There are obvious influences here, including the Hudson River artists and painter
Asher B. Durand and the romantics, including Caspar David Friedrich to name a few.
And of course, much can be made for the case of how the artwork and writings of Ansel
Adams has influenced a generation of artists and established the profession of the
fine art photographer.
So certainly, there is an attempt here to capture the majesty that nature surrounds
us with. However, as a creative artist, it is not my attempt to sequel a landscape
movement. Likewise, trying to illustrate grand vistas of primal America untouched
by mankind would make such an effort seem folly, or at least dishonest.
Young artists are often told to write or illustrate what they know best, so
I took this advice to heart. I didn’t grow up in a New World wilderness, an untamed
frontier or national park. I was born and raised in the post-industrial Rust Belt
of America, with telephone poles, abandoned vehicles and empty factories blocking
my viewfinder. But, if I couldn’t find beauty here, in the place of my birth, then
I would be forever lost in my journey as an artist.
So take a closer look, then. The broken gate, the worn fence, the fallen posts,
these are not signs of the destruction of Eden, but more of a reflection of the people
who live here. We don’t argue that the hives of bees are un-natural, because this
is the nature of bees. Likewise, the debate between mankind verses nature is not
found here, as this is the nature of humans. So, much like the proverbial old pair
of shoes left by the door, these are simply the natural remnants of those who call
this land home, but rarely have time to stop and look around.