Insight: Sean Woolsey

Insight: Sean Woolsey

“I like the balance of hopping from one thing to the next,” explains self-taught abstract artist and furniture maker Sean Woolsey. The Renaissance man designed clothing for seven years before he became disillusioned with the commercial side of the business and began contemplating a more fulfilling way of life. During a cross-country road trip with his wife, Woolsey began taking pictures with an old film camera. His photos of the natural colors, patterns and textures found in national and state parks inspired him to begin making art. “I use different paints, patinas and water-based acids on sheet metal panels,” Woolsey explains of his methods, noting that he uses his fingers as much as he does brushes. “I love the process of seeing colors forming and textures building.” In addition to his fine art, Woolsey also crafts furniture made from domestic hardwoods in a midcentury-modern style from his Costa Mesa studio. “Art is an evolving creative journey for me,” he explains. “I think that the beauty of being an artist is seeing where your work will take you next.”

LX: Work approach...
SW: For me, making art is problem creation, and making furniture is problem solving. One is very loose, and the other is very precise. I like the balance and the dichotomy of the two.

LX: What’s inspiring you now?
SW: Nature is always inspiring me, and architecture is a constant influence.

LX: Design icons...
SW: Sam Maloof, Robert Rauschenberg, George Nakashima, Alvar Aalto, Dieter Rams, Peter Beard, and Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors.

LX: Greatest influence...
SW: My dad, Dave Woolsey. He was a high-end stained glass artist for a couple of decades. He then turned to photography. His overall devotion to the creative process and hands-on approach has rubbed off on me.

LX: I just read...
SW: Die Empty, by Todd Henry. It was a game changer and is required reading material for any creative entrepreneurs out there.

LX: Gehry or Wright?
SW: Wright. After seeing Fallingwater in person, I became kind of obsessed with the man.;




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