When Pocholo Lucero (Cholo) first contacted me about doing some redwood, laser engraved art pieces for his Zin Garden, we discussed doing just a few pieces. After I shipped the pieces, his collection began to grow, and now we have collaborated to do forty two pieces and counting.
The designs Cholo chooses have always intrigued me. The Japanese style artwork seems to flow seamlessly with the live edge, redwood slabs, that prior to collaborating with Cholo, I mostly used for signs and clocks.
From the onset of our collaboration, I wondered what inspired Cholo’s choice of artwork. Cholo explained that his “love for Japanese culture,” specifically his appreciation of “Zin Buddhism and Japanese tattoo designs,” have inspired his artwork choices, which in turn, have helped to elevate my own artwork to new heights.
In addition to his zin garden, Cholo has been collecting and caring for bonsai trees (mostly Yamadori trees collected from the Sierra mountains,) for five years. Cholo plans on entering one of his amazing bonsais into the US Bonsai Nation finals this year. When I asked him what role redwood plays in his zin garden, he responded quite simply, “all my custom bonsai stands are made out of redwood, so when I saw that you specialized in redwood slabs, that caught my attention. I admire the beauty of redwood, especially the live edge features.”
Those live edge features he is referring to have helped to shaped my career as an artist, but they also provide challenges for the design placement and artwork. Though I can carve the edges a bit to fit the designs, for the most part, it’s all about keeping the natural, live edge, but not all designs fit the slabs. Sometimes I have to search for weeks to find just the right slab for the artwork. The piece I just did for Cholo took me two weeks to find, and I cut over two hundred slabs before I found the right one.
Yet, the struggle to find the right piece is all part of the artistic experience. I really do look forward to every piece I get to do with Cholo, and look forward to doing more work with his friends and extended bonsai community.