J.B. Blunk was a man with a vision—one he cut from redwood using chainsaws, no less.
I’ve long marveled at the asymmetric works of Blunk. His innate, obsessive attention to detail, his unapologetic use of recycled mediums-- and yes, his savviness with an aggressive lodger tool. Like all those in the world who possess some semblance of greatness, however, his journey was far from linear. A discharged soldier turned ceramicist-and-later-wooden-sculpturist, Blunk quite literally charted and carved his path in sloping curves, not linear edges.
Blunk was, clearly, a man who’s sole inspiration was found and bound in the natural mediums that surrounded him, void of the contemporary, more industrial tones touted by his peers. Part of that affinity for au natural design can be attributed to his proclivity for Japanese philosophy and its inseparability with art and the everyday. Above all, his art stands as an ode to the raw, unfettered beauty that organically occurs in nature. The grain, the ebb and flow in texture, the rings in the wood all on glorious display.
Blunk’s home property—which is one of the first wall-sized stills you’ll see walking into the exhibit— is perhaps his ultimate work of art, filled with his handcrafted furniture, ceramics, sculptures, and other functional objects used by his family. His remarkable craftsmanship also took the form of large-scale public works of art, including installations at San Francisco's Greens restaurant, with its carved, preserved redwood sprouting from the eatery's flooring.
Some of his most valuable personal items—including the very deerskin shirt he was famous for wearing—along with his collection of stunning wooden and various ceramics are on full display at OMCA now through September 9th. So, if you’re like us and fancy the intersection of outdoor living and indoor artwork, you’d be remiss not to make the trek to see the museum's J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life exhibit.
// Tickets can be bought either in advance or at the door; 1000 Oak St. (Oakland); More details can be found here.