ERIK LINTON TRAVELS THE WORLD IN SEARCH OF NATURALLY FALLEN TREES. FROM THEIR CROSS CUTS, HE CREATES UNIQUE PIECES OF ART THAT BRING TO LIGHT THE OTHERWISE HIDDEN BEAUTY AND ENDLESS INDIVIDUALITY OF THE FORESTS AROUND US. WE SAT DOWN WITH ERIK TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HIS PROCESS DEVELOPING THIS UNIQUE MEDIUM, AND WHAT HE’S LEARNED FROM WORKING CLOSELY WITH THESE TIMBER TIME CAPSULES.
"The rings of the tree are like fingerprints from Mother Nature; no two are exactly alike. Each tree tells its own story"
Over the last few years, I have traveled the world collecting samples of fallen trees, and each one of them is completely unique. The rings of the tree are like fingerprints from Mother Nature; no two are exactly alike. Each tree tells its own story of a place and time. Where some have grown quickly, with thick rings, I see a story of abundance and little opposition to growth.
Other trees show years where rain was scarce and the tree had to conserve its energy in order to just survive. The growth in the tree rings at these times is nearly imperceptible. To me, these are the interesting stories—the ones that show prudence in the face of hardship. Interestingly, these are also the trees that grow the strongest wood. There is wisdom for us in the stories told by these trees. They tell us that the best way to respond to a crisis is to slow down and focus on what matters most. This is how we get through uncertainty. We bake more.
“I’m merely taking these stories that have been written by the trees, some nearly a thousand years old, and sharing them.”
I’ve been a full-time artist for five years now, and I have spent much of that time looking at the things around us that are easily overlooked. I try to present those things in unfamiliar ways in order to enhance our appreciation of them. Working with these trees, I’ve begun to view myself as a publisher as much as an artist: I’m merely taking these stories that have been written by the trees, some nearly a thousand years old, and sharing them.
I want my artwork to remind people that we all have a responsibility to be good stewards as we care for the natural world around us, and also that we have an opportunity to learn from nature how we might live generously with each other.