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619-354-5969 | 1980 Kettner Boulevard STE 40 , San Diego, CA 92101
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Torrey Pines

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Artwork Story
This is an original marquetry wood inlay depiction of Torrey Pines State Beach in Del Mar California. This piece is #11 of 25 original artworks created simultaneously from different woods. Employed in the production of this work are veneer from about 18 species of trees either individually stained with tinted shellac or left in natural wood tones, cut piece by piece and painstakingly assembled and laminated to a 3/4” plywood substrate before being varnished under three coats of UV-inhibiting Artresin’. The piece is signed in the wood, numbered on the back, veneered on the edges and comes with nice sturdy French Cleat hanging hardware. All sides of this piece are sealed.
Artist

Mac Hillenbrand is the founder of the infamous underground artspace warehouse rock club and speakeasy The French Fry Factory (03’-05’ Oakland.)  He is the leader of his own surf gang The Coalition for Shralping and a former resident of Baja’s East Cape. He is Disk Jockey Old Spice the vinyl only northern soul and oldies dj.  A solo through hiker of the John Muir Trail and the owner of the marquetry art business Amber Waves of Grain, he holds a C-33 painting contractor’s licensing and lives, works and surfs in San Diego.   Above all, he is working to be the first person to use marquetry wood veneering techniques specifically to explore the aesthetic organic parallels between wood grain characteristics and oceanic textures.     

Adelman Fine Art represents Mac Hillenbrand in San Diego, California.

– Are there any key themes, messages or theories behind your work?  I often use woodgrain to represent oceanic texture finding the “waves in the wood.’  So my artwork often explores the cosmic parallel between how water moving through the grain of a tree, perhaps leaving concentric circles around a point of tension, employs the same physics as a wave hitting the coastline and refracting around a reef.  In this sense, by using the wooden remnants of a tree’s life with all it’s growth cycles and narrative there to see in the wood I’m essentially creating paintings out of time!  The overarching message behind the work is to recognize and sensationalize the beauty in nature and and then utilize this immense and unique beauty to memorialize and celebrate different subjects.  And when I’m really succeeding… create wonder.

– Could you tell us a bit about your artistic approach? (Style, medium and specific techniques.) I enjoy the challenge of creating paintings out of wood and resin.  But in a world full of woodworkers priding themselves upon preserving traditional methodology I pride myself upon my own ability to be avant guard with it. Essentially I have three different main types of work I like to make all of which are based upon techniques that I’ve developed myself over the years. This way, I know everything I’m doing is absolutely unique.

 

1) Marquetry wood inlay art:  Specifically, I like to create colored wood inlay that uses a combination of both stained and natural wood tones and explore the world of color combinations that employ the 3-dimensional characteristics of the wood.  I’ll often start by shooting photographs of a subject which I’ll use to create a template.  I’ll then hunt down different species of wood veneer for their unique grain patterns which I’ll intend to utilize to represent the different components of the art piece.  I then cut all the veneer into the pieces I need as if I’ve designed and cut my own jigsaw puzzle.  I’ll hand stain them by painting with tinted shellac to get the hues I can discover and than put all the pieces together to form the scene.  The whole thing gets laminated to a substrate board in a mechanical glue press I built, cropped, edge-banded with veneer and varnished under multiple coats of UV-inhibiting Artresin.   The whole process has at times taken me up to 300 hours.  Since I’m cutting the wood simultaneously, often on a scroll saw, I usually make several different incarnations of the piece which allows me greater aesthetic choices with the many woods I’ll incorporate.  So all my marquetry art pieces get signed and numbered despite the fact that they’re all completely unique.

 

2)  Paintings found within the grain of a singular board:  To create a painting from the grain of just one board can be quite a challenge indeed.  Luckily one of my favorite things to do in life is go hunting for just the right boards.  With my “Waves in the Wood” series I look for boards where I can find unexplored fantasy coastlines and more importantly surf-breaks in the wood grain.  After much sanding, I’ll define the contours of the coastline by pouring tinted resin over the board making sure to steer it around specific grain lines.  looking at the board I can see where the land, beach and waves should be and the color in the transparent resin allows me to, almost magically, transform the different parts of the board into the scene.  I’ll often use just clear resin for any beaches as the natural wood tones suits the look of the sand so well and then sway it into the blue tinted resin to create the look of tidal surges. After this first ayer of resin painting has dried I’ll then come back and hand paint surf-breaks into the scene as informed by the grain lines.  The potential quality of the surf is how I choose the boards.  I gotta see the right lines…My final step is pouring a coat of clear UV-inhibiting resin over the boards which locks everything down and preserves the colors.  Other times like in my “Don’t go Chasing Waterfalls” series I’ll find canyonious mountains in the grain and reveal the embedded mountain scene by painting the wood with tinted shellac and than the waterfalls in the resin!

The artist’s job is to “make pretty.”  Sometimes pretty things.  Sometimes beautiful ideas.  I strive to do both.

But what makes a beautiful idea beautiful is the relief or reconciliation it yields it’s beholder. An epiphany about some newly learned truth can be a beautiful idea just as well as escapist dreams can be.  When I make art I seek to manifest my own dominion of beautiful ideas into yours and meet you in this etherial realm where this happens.  When an art piece takes you to this place you’ll know it and I’ll see you there.  ~ Mac Hillenbrand

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