Keoni Carlson

Keoni Wood Fine Art Carving

"My canvas is wood, and my tools are a lathe, fire, and ink. Using the simplest of geometric shapes, a 1/8" line, I hand carve 3-D artwork that re-imagines wood as woven and beaded basketry. 40 hours later, if I've listened well, the wood has spoken. Combining texture, color, and illusion, my art is touchable, asking to be turned front-to-back and side-to-side. It is artwork that invites participation. "

Keoni Carlson's inspiration comes from his love of native culture, legends, and mythology. He applies the storytelling imagery in both traditional motifs and modern interpretations. His approach is optimistic, sometimes whimsical, and always present tense. The unexpected discovery that his work is wood produces smiles and delight, and sparks interesting conversations.

Once a design sketch is completed, a block of maple wood is spun on a lathe, then shaped using tools honed to a razor's edge. The "canvas" done, concentric rings are cut, and radial-spoke lines inscribed to create a windowpane grid of cells. The artwork then moves from the wood shop to the studio, where the design is hand carved and inked. Often, an individual piece has 40,000+ individual cuts and colored cells.

Carlson, a second-generation wood-turner, is self-taught, having started at age 9. Five decades later, he returned to that first love, the lathe, adding design and carving skills more recently learned. Recently, Carlson's artwork has been juried into six diverse national gallery exhibitions (AZ, TX, MS, VA, WA), as well as the prestigious Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole, WY.

Selected Exhibitions & Awards
First Strike Exhibition & Sale, The CM Russell Museum, Great Falls MT, 2019 & 2022
Juried National Exhibition, Cherry Creek, Denver CO, 2018 - 2022
Juried National Exhibition, Western Design Conference, Jackson Hole WY, 2017 - 2022
Smithsonian Fine Art/Fine Craft, National Building Museum, Washington DC, 2020
Juried National Gallery Exhibition, Arts Festival - Best of Show, Sedona AZ, 2017
Juried National Exhibition- Gold Winner, Main Street, Ft. Worth TX, 2019
PMA National Fine Craft Exhibition, Convention Center Downtown, Philadelphia PA, 2018