Artist of the Week: Scott Troxel, Woodshop Zen


Smith & Wesson had turned down the wood when Scott Troxel found it. 

There was “not enough curly grain” for the gunstocks of the high end guns. So, the gun manufacturers sold the wood as surplus to a lumber mill where it was stored in piles in a dilapidated barn on the fringe of the mill’s property.

But Scott Troxel saw something different. And where Smith & Wesson wouldn’t take a shot, Scott would.

When Scott looked at the discarded wood he saw “beautiful stacks” of walnut waiting inside the barn. He found what he needed.

And, with the symbolic richness of a well-crafted short story, the wood that was once intended to become firearms, would instead become art.

Auburn1 (36.5″ x 10.5″) by Scott Troxel, wood sculpture

The wood that Scott Troxel found on that day in the ramshackle barn was the wood he used to create Auburn1 and Auburn3, two of his new wall sculptures.  

This is just one out of the treasury of powerful stories behind the art in Scott Troxel’s new collection. What Scott repeatedly and admirably does is find the concealed beauty in life’s marginalia.

Auburn3 (31.25" x 24") by Scott Troxel, wall sculpture

The 60-year-old Queen Anne style table that the jaded might rushingly call passé, Scott called “amazing cherry wood” and turned it into MCM1. 

“I think it is just very satisfying to reuse materials when possible, rather than consume things all the time,” he humbly says.

MCM1 (45" x 14") by Scott Troxel, wall sculpture

With a discerning perceptivity, he visually deconstructs and decontextualizes these star-crossed materials and gives them a redemptive immortality as art.

He calls his approach to his art a “clustered, complicated…jigsaw puzzle [where] the process of creating takes over and always seems to destroy any well laid plans.”

He follows the instinct of his keen eye and lets the creativity take over.

Beyond his woodwork, he delves into a variety of other mediums: “some days I want to paint, other days I want to sculpt or work with wood,” he says.

His medium determines the space in which he works. When he paints, he works in his home studio. And when he works with wood, he works in his neighbor’s woodshop. In the woodshop, amid the mechanized intoning –  bandsaws, sanders, scaping, and cutting – Scott finds a sense of peace.

Scott working in his woodshop

“It is a very noisy, yet somehow a peaceful Zen like environment.  There is something very organically satisfying about the sounds and smells of a woodshop,” he says.

Scott, who describes himself as a modern abstract mixed media artist, creates art that falls between hard edge painting, minimalism, and abstract expressionism.

This past August, Scott had his first solo show, “Line and Grain,” in New Jersey.  

“My new pieces range from sleek, Frank Stella-inspired geometric works to unfinished wood wall sculptures that can be at once, rustic and refined,” says the artist.

Zen (16″ x 14″) by Scott Troxel, wood sculpture

This variety typifies Scott’s art. With his trusted creative instinct, it is all but impossible to say with certainty what will come next for Scott Troxel. 

But we can picture a moment in the woodshop before his work has been completed. Where Scott, in his beautiful and simple way, amid the spiced smell of cedar and the light catching particulates of sawdust, gives second chances.

It is in these imagined moments, that make one thing clear: the beauty that he brings to the world comes from not only what he creates, but how he creates.

See more of Scott Troxel’s work on UGallery.