Artist Forages for Driftwood, Turns What He Finds Into Awe-Inspiring Animal Sculptures

Driftwood Sculpture by Jeffro Uitto

For artist Jeffro Uitto, a walk on the beach is more than just a serene walk. It's an opportunity to forage for materials for his incredible, large-scale sculptures. Using driftwood he finds around the Pacific Northwest (specifically Washington state), he assembles the gnarled pieces into animals and birds. The smoothed strips of fragmented wood are put together like a puzzle; and when Uitto is done, they harness gestural energy reminiscent of a painter's brushstrokes.

Uitto’s creatures run the gamut of subjects. He has created the likes of horses, rhinos, eagles, Dungeness crab, and giraffes, but deciding on what animal he'll recreate is simultaneously easy and difficult. “I'm drawn to the magic of certain animals,” Uitto tells My Modern Met. “Eventually, if I get out of the way, it (the subject) will come to me. Like finding the right textures and shapes to inspire the idea or getting captivated by the beauty and energy of a certain animal.”

The work is also informed by the driftwood he finds during his long hikes. “It's always a balance on what and how I go about a project,” he explains.”Sometimes, the wood inspires the ideas, and sometimes I'll go on endless hunts for the perfect pieces, often working on several things in different stages.”

Although a laborious approach, Uitto has a great amount of gratitude for his process and where he lives. “Hunting and finding wood is half the fun and a ton of work,” he shares, “mostly in the winter when lots of rain and storms are pushing goodies out of the rivers.” It’s thanks to the unique beauty of the Pacific Northwest. “I love it more and more all the time. I grew up next to the ocean with the mountains nearby and never a shortage of inspiration and materials.”

Artist Jeffro Uitto creates large-scale driftwood sculptures featuring majestic animals.

Driftwood Horse Head SculptureDriftwood Horse Head SculptureJeffro Uitto Driftwood Sculpture

The pieces are informed by the wood he finds during his walks in the Pacific Northwest.

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My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Jeffro Uitto.

Related Articles:

Fantastical Figures Emerge From Hand-Carved Pieces of Found Driftwood

Luminous Driftwood Sculptures Inspired by Breaking Ocean Waves

Majestic Life-Size Horses Made of Scavenged Driftwood

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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