Tran Duy, a fantastic sculptor from Vietnam, is making a splash in the art world with his impressive wooden sculptures. The variety that he creates in wood is commendable, and it seems that nothing is impossible for this woodcarver.
Duy grew up listening to chisels scraping and smelling freshly sawn sawdust. This image remained in his mind even when he enrolled in the Hue University College of Arts, Hue, Vietnam. So strong was his desire to grasp the chisel that he dropped out of college to become a woodcarver, following in the footsteps of his brothers and uncles in his town.
On the website ThanhNien.vn, he says: “Until now, I still think that the decision to drop out at that time was the right one because it saved me a lot of time. I have time to learn new skills like sculpture, and I also have time to do my favorite things, like traveling alone in a foreign country.”
Duy started by learning the basic techniques and honed his skills over three years to go from apprentice to true craftsman. He tried his hand at reliefs, sculptures, and portraits during this period. But this was all Buddha-centric since Buddhist deities were selling well.
It wasn’t long before Duy was overwhelmed with the desire to do something new. He wanted to do something he liked instead of something he loved. First, he created Goku, a fictional character and the protagonist of the Japanese manga series Dragon Ball.
To sculpt Goku, Duy searched the internet for the right image. He printed the photo, transferred it to a wood block, and carved it. His friends loved it. This was the first sculpture of his that was not a Buddha statue. This success gave him more confidence in his woodcarving prowess and encouraged him to sculpt other characters that people love. His ultimate goal was to introduce Vietnamese woodcarving to the world.
Duy’s sculpting process is simple. He gets a block of wood, prints the image on it, and cuts the block to size with a circular saw. Then his other tools, like electric hand saws, come into play to give the block of wood a general shape, and small tools, like electric chisels, to chisel out details.
Duy’s works enjoy a large following, which can be seen on his Instagram page, woodart_vietnam.