Tran Duy, an amazing sculptor from Vietnam, is making waves in the art world by his breathtaking wooden sculptures. The variety he creates in wood is certainly commendable and it seems nothing is impossible for this woodcarver.
Duy grew up hearing the sounds of chisels scraping and smelling freshly sawn-off sawdust. This image lingered in his mind even when he enrolled in the College of Arts at Hue University, Hue, Vietnam. So strong was his desire to pick up the chisel that he dropped out of college to become a woodcarver, following in the footsteps of his brothers and uncles in his village.
On the website, thanhnien.vn, he states, “Until now I still think that the decision to quit school at that time was right because it saved me a lot of time. I’ve time to learn new skills like a sculpture and also have time to do my favorite things, such as traveling alone in a foreign country.”
Duy started out by learning the basic techniques and honed his skills for three years to turn from an apprentice to a true artisan. During this period, he tried his hand at reliefs, sculptures, and portraits. But all this was Buddha-centric since Buddhist deities sold well.
It wasn’t long before Duy was overcome by the desire to do something new. He wanted to make something he liked, rather than something he worshipped. As a first, he decided to create Goku, a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Japanese Dragon Ball manga series.
To sculpt Goku, Duy searched the internet for the right image. He printed the photo and transferred it on a wooden block and sculpted it. His friends just loved it. This was his first sculpture that was not a Buddha statue. This success not only made him more confident in his wood carving prowess but also egged him on to sculpt various other characters that people love. His ultimate aim was to introduce Vietnamese wood carving to the world.
Duy’s process of sculpting is simple. He gets a woodblock and prints the picture on it and cuts the block to the size using a circular saw. Then, his other tools come into play, such as power hand saws, to give the woodblock a general form and small tools, like electric chisels, to chisel out the details.
Duy’s works enjoy a big following and his works can be seen on the Instagram page, woodart_vietnam.