Woodcarving and Metalwork
Carved Bible Stories
George loves to tell stories in his art. He looks to his Christian religion for some of those stories. George isn’t alone in doing this. You can find stories from the Christian bible in the art of other self-taught artists too. You can see this in the work of one of George’s favorite artists, Howard Finster.
George likes to show Biblical images in his low-relief carvings. To retell a Bible story, he carefully reads the text and studies it for meaning and symbols. He thinks about what the story says. Then he develops ideas for his design. This is the process he used for his carving, “The True Story of Adam and Eve.”
George includes another set of spiritual stories and symbols in his art work. These come from West African mythology. George feels a strong connection to his African heritage. So he studied books about the gods and symbols in West African myths and African-based religions. What he learned inspired him to include some of those spiritual symbols in his carving and metalworking.
People from his Past
A third source of inspiration for George is his own past. George carves figures of people he remembers from places where he used to live. Each figure has a story that goes with it. George’s carvings help to tell the story of those people, that neighborhood, and his own life.
Sometimes George actually carves words onto his figures. These words join with the image to help tell the story. What do you think is the story of a woman who is “The Bomb” or a man who is “Too Cool”?
Tell Your Story Too
George is an artist who expresses his unique vision of the world in fun, playful and creative artwork. He is a strong supporter of all people expressing their own vision in the creative form they choose. He urges everyone, and especially young people, to express themselves!
George isn’t the only artist in Wisconsin who uses found materials to make interesting art, or who keeps teaching himself new techniques for making art. There is probably someone like George in your hometown. Ask local gallery owners who the local folk artists are. To find wood carvers, contact a nearby carving club or attend a carving show. Find out who the blacksmiths and welders are in your town if you want to find out about local metalworkers. Ask to visit their forge or shop—but be careful. Don’t get burned!
To learn more about George’s art and other African American artists who do similar work, check out George’s Resources For Students. Or invite George to come and do a demonstration in your school or club.
“I felt this connection back to Africa.”
– George McCormick