New artist: Bondo with crows | News | The Press and Standard

by | October 13, 2017 5:00 am

Last Updated: October 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

The annual selection of new artisans to join the South Carolina Artisan Center had a first.
Artisan Center Director Gayle Doggette said the 21 new artists selected to join the over 300 South Carolina artists who show and sell their work represent every medium from glass to pottery to wood, paintings from oil and watercolor.
There was something new as well. “We have our first Bondo artist,” Doggette said. “I am totally blown away with that.”
Will Kallberg of Summerville uses the auto body filler to produce statues of ravens. I call him the raven man,” Doggette said.
“I didn’t get to judge,” Doggette said, “but he was my favorite. I even know which one I want to own.”
The judges — Ember Estridge, an art teacher at Hendersonville Elementary School; Debbie Appleby, a potter, retired art teacher and Colleton County Arts Council’s artist-in-residence; and Gary Brightwell, retired director of the Colleton Museum and Farmers Market who once served as acting director at the artisan center — agreed with Doggette. They choose Kallberg as the best new artist.
To become a new artist, Kallberg and the others had to first submit a photo of their artwork with a description and estimated cost. A group of out-of-state professional artists reviewed the applicants and made their recommendations to the artisan center.
The morning of Oct. 5, those who made the first cut submitted their artwork for review by the local judges. “The second stage is to see the art,” Doggette said. “It has to be good, it has to be marketable.” The day ended with a new artist reception at the artisan center where Kallberg learned he had been selected best new artist.
Kallberg has been using Bondo and constructing his ravens for about a year, but he has a lengthy history as a professional artist. In Holmes County, Ohio, Kallberg had his own sculpture studio, working in sandstone and bronze.
When he and his wife relocated to South Carolina to be close to their grandchildren, they moved into a gated community.
He suspected his new neighbors would not be open to clouds of sandstone or the grinding of metal. But he would not leave his life in art behind.
Kallberg thought about working in clay but “modeling clays are not cheap.”
“I was looking for something inexpensive,” he explained. The automotive body filler came to mind.
His original plan was to use Bondo as filler for the sculpture and “then get something good to put on the outside of it.”
“But after I got done, I liked the texture,” Kallberg said. “I had wanted a lot of texture.”
Why ravens? “That’s an excellent question but I don’t have an excellent answer. I just like them,” he offered. “There are some things I like to pursue, other things I don’t.”
Once, he explained, a neighbor asked me to do a little alligator. “I said yes I could do it, but I’m not going to. I don’t like alligators.”
Ravens also drew him, he said, “because I like that it is one color.”
“I can’t think in color,” Kallberg explained. Painting the ravens all black “relieves me of that responsibility.”
Kallberg said he had been to the artisan center several times “and was impressed with the quality of the work. I decided to get my act together and produce, then try to get accepted.”

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