Opening Bark Studios in Cookeville, Tennessee in 1995, Sells developed his unique style, taking inspiration from the forests and his hardwood medium. Sells’ works wholly transcend “wood craft” and are included in such respected permanent collections as Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, the Neiman Marcus Home Collection, the Tennessee State Museum, and many more.
Sells supple and flowing works now command prices in the high-five figures with past works steadily gaining in “collectability” and value, sought by such notables as Julio Iglesias and author Bob Bohlen. Increasing numbers of art book authors, gallery owners, arts critics and collectors place Sells as a top artist in a fast-evolving field, one of a few select artists cresting the wave of popularity for fine wood sculpted art.
ARTIST's STATEMENT: "From the start of my artistic career I sought to redefine the "means and ends" of fine wood art carving. The advice of colleagues, a keen determination, and the use of personally designed custom-built tools have resulted in the pioneering of a unique sculpting process.
Each sculpture or vessel begins as a carefully selected hardwood bole, which I shape into flowing, organic forms with hydraulic chainsaws. Through the arduous use of a variety of customized grinders, the vessel is gradually reduced and thinned to a consistent wall thickness, refined by exhaustive sanding, and hand rubbed to a lustrous, almost translucent finish.
Studies in natural and social sciences have enhanced my understanding of the diversity and grand scale of geological time, as well as the importance balance of form, consistency and—perhaps most importantly—patience.
In carving I strive to embrace each tree's response to its surrounding environment. I think of the evolving form of each vessel as if it were the tree's high lonesome song in 3D, with me harmonizing with Mother Nature. My work is an attempt to show the surviving spirit of one of Earth's greatest living organisms… Life forms flux in the passing of time."
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