Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is very pleased to announce that Randall Stoner has been named as the Gallery’s new featured artist and he will now be promoted by the gallery for the next 14 days in the gallery’s Artist Showcase.
Randall is an Orange, California based wood carving artist. Because of his craft Randall is also known as the “Madcarver”. He was selected as 1 of the top twelve finalists of the gallery’s recent Solo Art Exhibition Series #6. The placement in this competition qualified his art to be showcased in this feature. Below are Randall's Artist Biography, Artist Statement and 5 images that were submitted to this competition.
Many artists have a driving force that propels them headlong into their work. This force can fuel their imagination, providing them with a spark that can ignite wildfires of creation. For Stoner, also known as Madcarver, stories from books read through the years combined with his imagination gets his mind’s eye running in hundreds of different directions before singling out a few to commit to one piece of art. By choosing wood as his medium, chisel as his tool, and audiobooks that are listened to during all stages of every project, he is able to be among the magical lands and characters within the stories as each and every cut is performed. This is how Stoner creates magically realistic works of art, at his home studio in Orange, California.
Stoner was born in Long Beach, California where after a few years his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. It was here where he was introduced at an early age to wood carving during a Boy Scout camping trip. Subsequent trips and practice resulted in obtaining the Wood Carving merit badge. It wasn’t until later in life after moving back to California, and back from Tokyo, Japan when in his later twenties he picked up wood carving in earnest, never to part with it again.
Stoner has fond memories of his grandfather, Theodore Wardell, as he taught all his grandchildren how to draw and some of them to paint, while helping still others with their specialties (back porch for Stoner and the wood chips). He was a commercial artist and lithographer and an accomplished artist in charcoal, colored pencil and oil. He later specialized in oil paintings, especially of old sailing ships. He is dearly missed by his family.
In addition to art lessons from family, Stoner learned a great deal from master artisans, craftsmen, and smiths in informal settings. Additionally, he studied for years through private drawing lessons in order to get a handle on perspective, free drawing, still-life, etc. When asked to explain what his inspiration is, Stoner explains “I am drawn to Fantasy literature. When I experience the characters’ feelings, fears, hopes, loves, pride, sadness, honor, etc., it brings forth a desire to put those exhilarating scenes, with my “spin” on them into the realm of the tangible”.
Long after finishing a novel, Stoner finds himself reliving the feelings of inhabiting, much of the time as the main character/s, this other reality so thoroughly that the “unreal” elements of the story, such as dwarfs & magic users, seemed spectacularly real long after the book was put back on the shelf. It is this immersion into their prosaic lives, monumental struggles, and epic successes that fuel his desire to create a work of art that equals the vastly heartfelt emotions received while among those friends. Stoner’s intention is to transport the onlooker to the far-away magically realistic land of his creation and join the story-line being unfolded right in front of them, just by viewing the piece.
Stoner says that his major influences are from Greek sculpture, and that through these great works he is able to push himself to greater and greater depths. He feels that many of his accomplishments in deep relief are due to looking (staring really) at the magnificent statues and realistic depth obtained from these works.
When asked whether he is a member of any groups, guilds, or clubs Stoner says “sure”. He is a member of the California Carver’s guild and Tustin Carving Club. Additionally, he is a member of the International Sculpture Center, and receives Woodcarving Illustrated periodical. He has been featured in Woodcarving Illustrated, B2Zone Artwork, and Artchung Baby for his story. These feature articles were published during the 2016 & 2017 years. He says that he feels honored to be the subject of other people’s interest.
Like many artists, Stoner has a full-time day job. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, and says “IT relates to the art side of my life where challenges are concerned.” Like IT, sculpture can test him through troubleshooting and finding solutions to many aspects of the work. Further, the two share the problem solving side where tools and imagination are used to succeed.”
In conclusion, when asked what information he would like his readers to walk away with, Stoner says, “My mission is to instill a story in the minds of the viewers through my sculpture narrative.”
I love digging into the block, removing unneeded areas, and revealing more and more of the treasure trapped within. The fulfillment I get when searching for angles, positioning subject matter, and detailing the piece to completion is phenomenal. Additionally, an emotional bond from an experience, story, or thing I’ve viewed preludes the start of all my projects. One of the most frequent ways I find inspiration for my work is through the stories I love to read. Particularly moving passages permeate my thoughts and fuel my creative action. I find myself reliving the feelings of inhabiting this other reality so thoroughly that the “unreal” elements of the story, such as dwarfs & ogres, seem spectacularly real long after the book was finished. It is this immersion into their prosaic lives, monumental struggles, and epic successes that make it possible for me to create art that is worthy of the sentiment brought forth by the literature.
I discover each new piece individually. Certainly, I have ideas running rampant all the time, but for the most part, when I complete one project I start researching the next powerful work. Through the research alone, I get ramped up and emotionally bound to my idea, and often start the work prior to getting an understanding of what will be in the entire piece. At times like these I “discover” the rest of the content as I develop the project.
The wood species I use most often is Basswood. It is an off-white, almost cream colored, tending towards very light brown. The grain is straight, texture is even, and holds carving detail very well. Seldom does it warp after seasoning which makes it close to ideal for larger pieces, as well as small. Finally, the light color allows numerous shades of darkening via wood burning tools, stains, and takes finish sealants well. Finally, I encourage people to touch the piece, though with a gentle hand.
I create magical & hyper-realistic sculptures that depict scenes from years of reading fiction. The mediums I use are hardwoods of numerous types. Creation of my art is produced by the use of chisels, and vary in size anywhere from one foot to three or more feet. In addition to my specialty of high bas-relief I have also created full busts and stand-alone carvings. I look for the deepest depth and the highest height in addition to the most intriguing angles from the character and Surrounding Objects. Randall’s website: www.madcarver.com