Artist Portfolio Magazine – 2017 Q4 Art Competition
Storytelling by Chisel | Randall Stoner
Many artists have a driving force that propels them headlong into their work. This force can fuel their imagination, providing them with a spark that can ignite wild fires of creation. For Stoner, also known as Madcarver, stories from books read through the years combined with his imagination gets his mind’s eye running in hundreds of different directions before singling out a few to commit to one piece of art. By choosing wood as his medium, chisel as his tool, and audio books that are listened to during all stages of every project, he is able to be among the magical lands and characters within the stories as each and every cut is performed. This is how Stoner creates magically realistic works of art, at his home studio in Orange, California.
Stoner was born in Long Beach, California where after a few years his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. It was here where he was introduced at an early age to wood carving during a Boy Scout camping trip. Subsequent trips and practice resulted in obtaining the Wood Carving merit badge. It wasn’t until later in life after moving back to California, and back from Tokyo, Japan when in his later twenties he picked up wood carving in earnest, never to part with it again.
Stoner has fond memories of his grandfather, Theodore Wardell, as he taught all his grandchildren how to draw and some of them to paint, while helping still others with their specialties (back porch for Stoner and the wood chips). He was a commercial artist and lithographer and an accomplished artist in charcoal, colored pencil and oil. He later specialized in oil paintings, especially of old sailing ships. He is dearly missed by his family.
In addition to art lessons from family, Stoner learned a great deal from master artisans, craftsmen, and smiths in informal settings. Additionally, he studied for years through private drawing lessons in order to get a handle on perspective, free drawing, still-life, etc. When asked to explain what his inspiration is, Stoner explains “I am drawn to Fantasy literature. When I experience the characters’ feelings, fears, hopes, loves, pride, sadness, honor, etc., it brings forth a desire to put those exhilarating scenes, with my “spin” on them into the realm of the tangible”.
Long after finishing a novel, Stoner finds himself reliving the feelings of inhabiting, much of the time as the main character/s, this other reality so thoroughly that the “unreal” elements of the story, such as dwarfs & magic users, seemed spectacularly real long after the book was put back on the shelf. It is this immersion into their prosaic lives, monumental struggles, and epic successes that fuel his desire to create a work of art that equals the vastly heartfelt emotions received while among those friends. Stoner’s intention is to transport the onlooker to the far-away magically realistic land of his creation and join the story-line being unfolded right in front of them, just by viewing the piece.
Stoner says that his major influences are from Greek sculpture, and that through these great works he is able to push himself to greater and greater depths. He feels that many of his accomplishments in deep relief are due to looking (staring really) at the magnificent statues and realistic depth obtained from these works.
He is an award-winning sculptor, and is consistently a first place winner is numerous “Design in Wood” & “Fine Woodworking” competitions. Here are a few:
Steam Age Gunslinger
*Orange County Fair – 1st Place, Division Winner, Industry award (2016)
*Artistry in Wood Dayton Ohio, 1st Place (2015) Online
*San Diego Fair – 1st Place, Division Winner (2015)
Not Too Bright
*San Diego Fair – 1st Place (2015)
*Orange County Fair – 1st Place, Division Winner (2015)
No Silent Escape
*Orange County Fair – 1st Place, Division Winner (2014)
When asked whether he is a member of any groups, guilds, or clubs Stoner says “sure”. He is a member of the California Carver’s guild and Tustin Carving Club. Additionally, he is a member of the International Sculpture Center, and receives Woodcarving Illustrated periodical. He has been featured in Woodcarving Illustrated, B2Zone Art work, Light Space and Time, and Artchung Baby for his story. These feature articles were published during the 2016 & 2017 years. He says that he feels honored to be the subject of other people’s interest.
When Stoner works with his collectors he is meticulously cognizant of their needs, and is well liked. Here’s what some have to say about him:
“The Madcarver’s work is simply amazing! The attention placed on depth, detail and the ability to create a 3-D effect is beyond imagination. I was astonished viewing the workmanship of this artist and knew that I had to acquire one. In fact, I am pursuing a second piece.”
Darrell Mathis, Southern California
“Randy’s work is top notch. I love my piece which is called “Traveler”. His style and vision just captures and evokes the feeling of all the classic fantasy works. Definitely one of the cornerstones of my collection.”
Michael Kindle, Pennsylvania
“What an awesome detail and artwork!!! Hope you add it to your album, Randall. Gob smacking work”
Gina Adam – B2Zone Art Magazine
Like many artists, Stoner has a full-time day job. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, and says “IT relates to the art side of my life where challenges are concerned.” Like IT, sculpture can test him through troubleshooting and finding solutions to many aspects of the work. Further, the two share the problem solving side where tools and imagination are used to succeed.”
In conclusion, when asked what information he would like his readers to walk away with, Stoner says, “My mission is to instill a story in the minds of the viewers through my sculpture narrative.”