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Gerald Andersen is a self-taught wood carver who draws his inspiration from American folk art.

He began carving in 1984 when he and his wife decided to collect folk art and soon discovered their check book balance did not match their ambitions. Mr. Andersen decided to build his own folk art collection by carving it himself. Using wood scraps and acrylic paints he began by copying the works of early artists from museum catalogs and collections. However, he soon set out on his own course bringing a contemporary sense of irony and wit to the traditional art form.

His work won blue ribbons at local art shows including one in which the curator of the Brooklyn Art Museum granted him an award of special merit.

The pressures of career, commuting, and child-rearing, however, caused him to hang up his carving tools for the next 25 years. He returned to the woodpile with a vengeance upon his retirement 9 months ago after a 35 year career in trade association management.

His approach is the same as it was 25 years ago: scrap pine glued together, carved and painted with acrylic paint. “I have never taken a course in carving or even read a book on the subject. I do what I do and it is what it is,” he says.

His subject matter ranges from literature, to sports, to history. “I can’t say exactly where my ideas come from. I take a four mile walk everyday which gives me plenty of time to think.”

He still has the same wry approach to his subject matter. “Even if I am trying to make a serious statement about something, I like to do it in a way that puts a smile on people’s faces.”

He lives in Califon, New Jersey with his wife, Kathie. They have two grown children and a grandson.

In the warm weather, he carves and paints on the front porch. In winter, he moves inside.

“I would like to put a studio out in the barn. My wife is getting fed up with the wood chips on the kitchen floor,” he says.

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