10/2010 OKANAGAN ART WORKS
Bob Whitehead nature lover, wood carver Even when you were born as a gifted artist, it may not be the career you choose later in life. However, if it is meant to be that you live your life as an artist, it is meant to be, and it will happen, as it did with Bob Whitehead from Salmon Arms. Art has always come naturally to Bob. He worked in different mediums, for instance, as a child he did many pencil and charcoal sketches, pastel paintings, and of course 3-D carvings. His first woodcarving was done at the age of twelve. This was of a mountain cabin and is still in his mother’s possession. He has always been very interested in wild life and this has been his subject of choice for most of his projects over the years. Other sources of inspiration are people and ships. “As an artist I did everything pretty well,” he said, “but I ended up doing metal working, like welding and fabricating, and operating heavy duty equipment as a job. It was only after I married
that I took on wood carving as a full time job. This was about 15 years ago. “It started when I worked in construction building log homes. I did some woodcarvings for log home clients and eventually it became my full time job. At first I did an art line that I consigned to galleries and took to art shows. These were the cutaways and straight wall hangings. Then, almost immediately after that I started working with door companies and that is how I moved onto commercial art. “Most of the door carvings are for international clients, mostly in the States. In fact, about 80% of my stuff go down to the States, but with the economy the way it is lately, I am beginning to do more work in Canada.” Some
of Bob’s work has been fairly high profile. There were the carvings he did for Canada House in Torino, Italy where the Winter Olympics were held. There has been the odd job for clients from Europe or Asia and a recent job for a Russian client. They saw the work he did for Canada House in Torino and insisted that he did the work for their house. Then there was the Heritage Park work he did for the City of Calgary two years ago. All worthy of the awards he has won at juried art shows.