When artist Kyle Krauskopf moved from Indianapolis to Seattle, he decided he wouldn’t be taking any of his art with him. Instead, he had a “Burn or Buy” sale of his work to pay for the move — everything that wasn’t sold was burned — which, according to Krauskopf, was “very liberating.” With that done, he packed up his trusty scroll saw and headed west. New Year’s hit not long after, and with that he began his 365 Days of Wood art project.
For each day of 2015, Krauskopf has used his scroll saw to cut out an animal from a small 4″ piece of scrap wood. Lions and tigers and koala bears, oh my! The daily aspect of this challenge means he now has over 300 animals in his still-growing menagerie. The creatures run the gamut from the common slug to the mythic myrmecoleon.
Even before beginning 2015, Krauskopf made a list of over 250 animals for this project. He wanted to make sure that he had a good mix of common and obscure animals throughout the year and to ensure that he could make holiday-appropriate animals for certain days of the year (“How could I not do a turkey for thanksgiving?” he said).
At this point you may be wondering why he wanted to do this project in the first place. “The short answer is I really enjoy a challenge,” explains Krauskopf. The longer answer relates to his move to Seattle and the fact that he didn’t bring his body of work with him:
I moved out here without a physical portfolio of any kind. So this project was designed to make me rebuild something to be able to physically exhibit and with such a strict production requirement it would happen quickly. I have always loved scroll sawing things, it’s just something that can end up really cool and you don’t see everyday when it comes to artwork. I chose animals because it was honestly one of the only things I could think of that I could glean 365 different and interesting things out of.
Since Krauskopf has been using the scroll saw artistically for eight years, you shouldn’t expect to see a lot of the obvious technical improvement from January 1 to present that you might see in other “365” challenges. Krauskopf already had the scroll saw chops to complete this project when he started. He doesn’t keep progress photos on his archive, but you can see some photos of his process on Instagram.
Over the year, however, Krauskopf says that he has noticed differences in the time it takes to make each one, as well as the overall style he uses when creating them. He’s also really learned how to work within the constraints that he’s set for himself. “I know how a bird fits (or doesn’t. They’re the hardest to fit in a square nicely) I know how a four legged, cow-type animal fits. Fish and sea life have actually been the most fun, turning them into a circular shape to touch all four sides is really very easy and effective,” he says.
With less than two months to go before 2016, Krauskopf is looking for a gallery where he can display all 365 animals in a 22′ square (not that many galleries have that kind of space though). After that, Krauskopf would like to see this work being permanently exhibited in a zoo or school.
And his plans for 2016? “Weekly Wooden Hero! …daily is just a hell of thing.”