Tony Fredriksson, a South African sculptor, is best known for his mesmerizing, raw, almost haunting driftwood creations. He began working with the material in 2007 and quickly learned how to use the organic knots and twists of washed up logs to bring them to life.
Fredriksson begins by sketching out his ideas in a journal, and going through a few references for accuracy. He then begins his hunt for the perfect piece of driftwood to suit his vision. He sorts his wood collection by type, shape, and size, and prefers to use a single piece for each sculpture. So he looks for one that naturally resembles at least one element of his design.
Some of Fredriksson’s initial sculptures were of nude female Tambooti Masaai warriors. But his anatomically accurate models of aquatic creatures in driftwood bring him the most attention today. One of his most notable pieces is the sculpture of a shark, siliced horizontally to expose its various internal organs. Another interesting piece is the life-sized skeleton of a humpback whale that he made on Seychelles’ Desroches Island, using the driftwood found only on that beach.
Fredriksson explains that his art is not meant to be metaphorical – he just celebrates nature the way he sees it. “Not many of my sculptures are deliberately made to convey some hidden or mystic meaning,” he said. “Most are just a celebration of God’s creation and I pray before each sculpture asking God to help me do justice to His amazing work. Mine are just a poor reflection of the works of His hands. That is why I am also fascinated with anatomy and skeletons and internal organs, everything in creation is fearfully and wonderfully made.”
His first solo exhibition in 2010 featured several of his fish sculptures and a lifesize model of a Masaai warrior. In 2011 he switched his focus to birds, creating a huge marabou stork, a lifesize ostrich, and a Delicate dart. He’s also done sculptures of animals and insects since then.
Photos: Tony Fredriksson/Facebook