Jim Esdon  |  Wood  |  Phoenix, AZ

Q&A with Jim Esdon

What process/materials did you use to create your artwork?  Poplar hardwood is my primary toy making material. I also employ Baltic Birch plywood in some of my toys. The wheels, axles and Peg People are made of birch.

What inspires you to create and what inspires your work?  I have been a carpenter all my adult career and have had artistic leaning as far back as I can remember. After working for others, ether as an employee or as an independent contractor, I decided to finish my working life making things that were fun and brought joy to children.  

If you had to describe your artwork in 5 words or less, what words would you use?  Handcrafted toys for children.

What other artists inspire you? What's your favorite artwork?  I have always been drawn to the Impressionist artists, particularly Monet and vanGogh, but also love Salvador Dali's works as well. In Architecture Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies Van Der Rohe were a big influence on my design work. In sculpture I tend to the classics of Michelangelo and Da Vinci.

What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist (if anything?)  I try, in all my toys, to provide quality and durability as well as inspiring the young ones imagination.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?  From my father, "Always strive for integrity in your character and your work."

What is your favorite artist tool?  My imagination.

What is your dream project?  That's a hard one. I guess I could say I always fallow my dreams.

What do you like about your work?  I just love woodcraft.

How has your practice or process changed over time?  An ever growing attention to detail and an acceptance that nothing in life is perfect. That's a bit of a dichotomy but took years to come to terms with.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?  I have received many compliments and a good living over the years from my craftsmanship but I have never been more complemented than when a young boy, after saving his chore money for six weeks, chose my race car to spend his $20.00 in quarters on. Or a young girl cradling my wooden Puppy in her arms as if it was a living thing, as she walked away with her mom and dad.

Why art?  Art Is Life! Live It With Passion!