John Eric Byers Studio
1. Where were you born and where are you from ?
Rochester, New York.
2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?
A exhibition of Wendel Castles work when I was in my teens.
3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?
Yes – for nearly four decades now.
4. What led you to the design creation ?
5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?
My influences are simple geometric forms enveloped with hand tooled surface texures. Every piece inspires a dozen ideas – each new design inspires and informs the next design.
6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?
I work nearly every single day and I chose to work alone. My studio is 30 feet from my home which is convenient and efficient. I typically have several pieces in process. There is very little down time from the physical labor but I will take 3 breaks during the day to check in on emails. I live without a smart phone – eliminating distraction. The physical labor includes milling. laminating , shaping, carving,and finishing.
7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?
I was always drawn to wood – my grandfather was a carpenter. My formal training is in fine woodworking. However very early my focus on form + surface became primary – the color and grain of the wood no longer was of interest me. My prefered wood material is hard maple. Its characteristics are perfect for what I do.
8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?
Wood lamination, hand– shaping, hand – tooling, and lacquering.
9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?
Stay true to your vision, work hard, be your hardest critic and know that failure is part of the process.
10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?
I will leave that definition up to others.
11. What designers have influenced you ?
Hans Coper, Donald Judd, and Wendell Castle.
12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?
I appreciate any artist / designer that is doing uniquely original work.
13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?
Same as the designers.
14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?