NEW ROADS, La. (KLFY) — If you visit New Roads, Louisiana looking for the guy who creates wood art, or if you travel out of the country and see a 3-dimensional art piece made out of cypress wood, nine times out of ten, it’s a Watson piece!
“You are not going to get this anywhere else,” said Henry Watson. “You can’t duplicate that wood. You can’t come from China, you can’t come from New York and say, ‘Well, I’ve got this wood art,’ unless you come to the south.”
Watson, a folk artist, started carving wood when he was just 15-years old, using his skill to reflect the Louisiana culture. Forty years later, his art pieces are more than just paintings on a wood board. The process to get to the finished product is very detailed.
Watson said, “You see paintings and art all over the world but when you see 3-d popping out of cypress, you know It’s a Watson.”
All Watson pieces are made out of cypress wood only. In order to keep its uniqueness, he travels across Louisiana looking for old abandoned buildings made out of cypress trees. He demolishes the buildings himself.
“I take it and I recycle it and I use those old boards and I carve my subject matter into them,” said Watson. “So, when I tell you they are over 150 years old, that means a 150-year-old building that was cut from a tree 300 years old,” said Watson.
Once the board is cut, he begins the carving process. Watson says he first started carving images like old buildings and Louisiana landmarks that inspired him. Now, he carves a variety of images from portraits, to family homes. He says, the key to making the art piece come alive is its three-dimensional appearance.
Once he’s done carving, he paints the outline, and just like that “It’s a Watson.” He says his talent makes room for him. Through his artwork he’s met several people from across the world and gained their respect.
“Your work speaks for yourself,” he said. “What I create and do you don’t find anywhere else. I don’t have to go, the world comes here.”