Artist Justin Kenney with one of his pieces

New Artist Comes to Woodstock's Sculpturefest

Submitted a year ago

Sculpturefest, the popular display of sculptures on a hill in Woodstock, opens on Saturday.

Featured will be new pieces from Herb Ferris, the popular stone and wood artist from Windsor. 

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Some new artists, like Justin Kenney, will also be at Sculpturefest this year.

Kenney, 34, makes art out of heavy concrete and steel.

He grew up in Massachusetts and made his way to Vermont after high school when he got a chance to work with artist Eric Aho.He decided to make art his career after that.

We asked Kenney some questions.

Where does your inspiration come from?

What most inspires me, is sitting with my partner, Laura Jane Walker, drinking wine and fantasizing about the future.

You use a lot of concrete in your sculptures. Why are you drawn to concrete?

I love concrete! Like few other substances, concrete starts as a liquid and becomes a solid. This transformation allows me as the artist, to not carve a physical object but instead to define the empty space the concrete will eventually fill.

Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes, even when I was very small child I would rearrange objects to fit my sensitivities. My father would always joke, “if only he was a musician we could listen to an orchestra”.

 When did you realize you could pursue art as a living?

In regards to my career, there are a few pivotal moments where I believe my path became defined by a single choice. During my early twenties, I really wanted to design bridges. I was preparing for an interview with a local engineering agency who specialized in steel bridges and needed someone proficient in computer aided design. I never went to the interview because a few days prior, oil painter Eric Aho asked me if I could clean some paint brushes, and of course I said, Yes.

This will be your first time at Sculpturefest. What’s that like? How were you invited to show your art there?

This is a really exciting opportunity for me. I have been building sculptures for years and I don’t have a great deal of experience in group exhibitions. It is truly an honor to have my work amongst so many wonderful artists.

 How much time a day do you devote to your work each day?

I spend approximately seven hours in the studio, being sculpture or painting and I spend another four hours writing about my work or applying for grants and researching processes and what other artists are doing. But I will admit, on the weekends I tend to enjoy a late breakfast.

Do you have other hobbies?

I am, and always will be a fisherman. I fish for stripers off the coast of northern Massachusetts. It began when I was sixteen and still, every summer, I get my fishing rod out and sit in the same spot for eight to ten hours a day. This is my favorite place.

Here are some examples of what you'll find at Sculpturefest:

"Refuge" by Herb Ferris

"Entwined" by Herb Ferris

"Living Willow" by Bonnie Gale


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