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Salem's Sculpting Philosophy

“There is an inherent beauty in nature. Someone has gone far out of their way to make things attractive- the creator of the universe. When we try to channel that creativity, it opens up a lot of doors.” The inspiration of artist Salem Barker comes from the world around him. Experiencing the intricacies and splendor of nature allows Salem to create pieces that demand attention at each and every one of the 14 to 20 art fairs in which he participates annually. “If you pick up a flower and look at it, you will see that it has amazing structural composition. Just mimicking that can send a sculpture lightyears ahead of study!”

It is no wonder that Salem’s favorite and most used material is of the earth itself: wood. “Working with wood, I discovered that I had the ability to pull solid objects out of solid material and bring my imagination into reality,” revealed the artist. This versatile material allows Salem to create a wide range of pieces, none quite like the next. The most common size of Salem’s wood sculptures is 18-24 inches, though he has pieces as small at eight inches, and as tall as 12 feet! “I don’t have deep hidden abstracted messages in my work; simply sculptural objects of beauty. Some represent strength or flow or delicacy. Quite different kinds of feelings are portrayed in each piece,” the sculptor shared.

Salem creates his pieces at his studio, which is attached to his home in Northern Illinois. Here he keeps the tools needed to create his sculptures, including forklifts, chainsaws, cranes, and of course, wood. The pieces are formed here, and make their way to cities and towns all over the country- including Shaw.

Salem is excited to come back to the Historic Shaw Art Fair for another year, and we cannot wait to have him! Keep a look out for this award-winning artist and his wood sculptures at the 25th annual fair.

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