How Sculptor Anton Forde Brings Out the Artistic Soul of Timber

Anton Forde is an artist and sculptor known for his works that connect to land and nature.  

Over the past decade, his recycled hardwood and stone sculptures and installations have been exhibited both at solo and group exhibitions in Aotearoa, Ireland and San Francisco, and are held in public and private collections.

From his workplace on Waiheke Island, Anton Forde is fast carving out a reputation for creating works full of mana, thanks to his respect for and connection to the materials he uses.

Through his works, Forde hopes to create a symbolic statement of kotahitanga (unity) and whakamaru (protection) for nature, land and sea.

Forde draws on an East Coast legend, known by most traditionally trained carvers since the art of carving was discovered by Ruatepupuke, the grandson of the Ātua sea god Tangaroa: “Tangaroa’s moana is in true danger of being lost as global mean sea level has risen 21–24 centimetres since 1880, and about 10cm in the last two-and-a-half decades due to a combination of meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets and thermal expansion of seawater as it warms,” he explains.  Forde’s work protests against human impacts on climate and our children, it propositions us all to think and take responsibility for our own footprint that we leave on the land.

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Anton’s predilection for wood as an artistic material is rooted in his interest in exploring its natural beauty and unique properties. Its grains, texture, colours, patterns and origin. Ford works with the wood to produce sculptural pieces that offer insight into how the material can be moulded. He has experimented with various techniques for manipulating wood, including carving, milling, turning, and sanding. Anton’s wood pieces tend to blend the quiet power of the natural forms he crafts with his exceptional artistic sense, to produce pieces that are both visually and emotionally stimulating.

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His wooden sculptures and objects often showcase his ability to merge traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design, creating pieces that are both timeless and modern. One of Forde’s notable achievements is his ability to strike a balance between the raw beauty of the wood and the deliberate artistic interventions he makes. Whether it’s a smooth, polished surface or rough, weathered edges, he embraces the inherent qualities of the timbers, enhancing them through his artistic vision.

His sculptures have been exhibited in various galleries and art exhibitions, where they have garnered critical acclaim and captivated viewers with their organic beauty. Anton’s work serves as a testament to the transformative power of art and the potential of discarded materials to inspire and provoke thought. Aucklanders and Kiwis all over should consider adding Sculpture on the gulf on Waiheke Island to their list of must-dos where one can “walk, play, connect & reflect” while soaking up the artistic and natural beauty in its surroundings. A new work in Australian hardwood and Pounamu will be exhibited at Brick Bay Sculpture Trail from September 2023.

While working with wood can pose challenges, it also offers immense creative opportunities for artists like Anton to explore its natural beauty, sustainability, and expressive potential in their sculptures.

Anton Forde’s art is an exceptional showcase of how an artist with deep creative instincts can explore the vast potential of a particular material to produce something truly remarkable. Through his extraordinary explorer spirit and passion for woodworking, Anton has created a place for himself in the art world as one of the most talented and innovative sculpture artists.

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Te Kotahitanga o Whakamaru / The Unity of Protection Sculpture on the Gulf March 2022

Interlink is proud to work with Anton by supplying our diverse range of timber products for his wooden sculptures. We can’t wait to see what he makes with them next!