Jon’s first sculpture was made when his first wife gave him a small pieces of stone. All he had to carve with was an old steak knife, which he used to craft a small head. Carving the eyes, nose and mouth inspired him so much, that he immediately enrolled in sculpting class and the rest, as they say, is history. Jon has been recognized by experts and peers with numerous awards for his work.
In the twenty years since that first carving, Jon has followed the natural progression of stone carvers going from soft to hard stones, from definitive to abstract designs. From large, 6 feet 6 inches high, weighting over 1,500 pounds, to small, a miniature lapis stick man under one inch in height. Over time Jon has carved soapstone, alabaster, marble and granite. He has hand quarried stone in New Mexico and Utah. He has selected rough rock at the quarry, and he has purchased imported materials to obtain color and hardness . His current favorite stone is black Belgian Marble. It is very hard, it will last indefinitely inside or out, and it takes a mirror fine finish that involves the viewer by reflecting their image.
Jon uses an air hammer. He has a $10,000 diamond chain saw and relies on the standard sculpting hammers, chisels, rasps, files, and piles and piles of sandpaper to release the figures from within the stone. First, drawing on paper, to establish scale, Jon begins stone excavation with contour lines for movement. Jon’s use of line gives some of his carvings the appearance of the stone being stretched over an underlying figure. Many of Jon’s carvings are deliberately carved thin to reveal translucence and/or transparency of the stone. When stationed in front of a light source the sun for example, these sculptures beam with radiance.
Women are found as elusive subjects in Jon’s carving. His sculptures are so inviting, one wants to reach and touch the cool smooth stone to feel the smooth textures and rippled caverns that move the eye and animate the stone. His intention is that his sculptures bring a moment of thoughtful peace and reflection to the viewer.
In finishing his sculpture, Jon uses Italian Marble bases to distinguish his work from others.
Tribal Expressions is proud to represent the magnificent stone and bronze sculpture of Jon DeCelles.