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
Juried National Exhibition, Jackson Hole WY, Western Design Conference - 3rd Pl/Wood, 2017
Juried National Gallery Exhibition, Sedona AZ, Arts Festival - Best of Show, 2017
Juried National Exhibition - Contemporary Native American Art, Highland Park IL, The Arts Center - Journey to America, 2018 Mar/Apr
Sculpture in the Park - Juried Int'l Exhibition, Loveland CO, Loveland CO, 2018 August
Juried National Exhibition, Ft. Worth TX, Main Street, 2019 April
PMA National Fine Craft Exhibition, Philadelphia PA, Convention Center Downtown, 2018
Juried National Exhibition, Jackson Hole WY, Western Design Conf - Award Winner, 2018
First Strike Exhibition & Sale, Great Falls MT, The CM Russell Museum, 2019 Feb/Mar
Juried National Exhibition, Denver CO, Cherry Creek, 2019 July
Juried National Exhibition, Jackson Hole WY, Western Design Conference, 2019 September