South Jersey Artist trying to make a full time art job a viable option.

We’ve all been stressed out, over worried, overworked, underslept, burned up, and worn out.  I realized I needed a change when all of those boxes were checked off. The difficulty was that the custom furniture shop was my baby that I built from zero. In 3 years I had gone from building furniture for 2 or 3 customers per month to 100 per month (with a growing crew of great guys). It was fun but the hours took a heavy toll on my body and the growth took a toll on my mind.  Having a heart attack at age 35 seemed like a worthy incident to avoid. So, with a heavy heart, I sold the company.

For my next chapter, I sought out to find an art form that would force me to slow down while also challenging my skill set. As it turns out, this process is a rather meditative experience. Whenever I’ve attempted to rush the work, it takes even longer.  So, I slow down, breath, and just keep working.  However, when a piece is finally finished, the hope is that it would go on to assist others in slowing down.  If viewers are naturally pulled and allowed to let their eyes wander through the artwork, their minds are soon to follow.


I continually screw up but I’ve at least come a long ways from where I started.  By taking the leap of faith and buying my own laser cutter (and the crazy amount of other tools needed) I’m able to complete the entire process in-house without compromising.  While others may outsource the actual physical process, I WANT to be hands on.  Coming from the wooden furniture world, it is hard enough spending so many hours designing on the computer.  Being able to be on both sides of the design process keeps me from going insane that may occur from so much time behind the computer.

The actual process for those who are curious:
1). Brainstorm overall concept
2). Sketch idea on paper
3). Meticulously design 12 individual layers digitally
4). Convert those 12 digital drawings into wood using a laser beam.
5). Prep each now physical layer
  A). Pop out 1 million tiny parts
  B). Sand where needed
  C). Stain individual layers depending on design
6).  Meticulously glue each layer to the previous
7).  Clamp and wait for a while
8).  Remove from "glue-up"
9).  If not screwed up, continue.  Otherwise, start over.
10).  Apply lacquer create protective surface on the artwork.
11).  While allowing the lacquer to cure, celebrate completion.
12).  Contemplate why I choose a medium that is so labour intensive.

Oh, and me:
  • Married to a librarian who is great
  • Have to 2 cats
  • My wife and I help out with high school youth program and they make us feel old
  • I hope to someday motorcycle across SE Asia.
  • I’ll come up with more interesting stuff later

If you’ve come this far, thanks for reading!
Philip. Me@Philip-Roberts.com

609 200 0079