Reclaimed Wood Art: From Start to Finish

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On a beautiful spring day in New Orleans, James Martin steps out to take a walk, but this is no ordinary walk and James is no ordinary guy. This is a mission for salvageable wood: someone’s trash or broken, unwanted scraps that will eventually be transformed into a beautiful landscape, but first comes the hunt.

There’s a plantation home in the Faubourg-St. John neighborhood that has been a great contributor to Martin’s cause. The home is under renovation but the original construction is listed as 1784.

Countless hours using different tools and techniques, a little construction and a few layers of varnish later, the wood slab is ready to be painted. James Martin typically works behind his Frenchman Art Market display. The series of work is called the “St. Roch Series” and the inspiration behind the pieces vary from nature to New Orleans, even mythology and science fiction. Each painting is unique, put together by hand and full of character. Perhaps the most significant factor that connects each piece is the history in the wood itself. Martin thoughtfully preserves the natural beauty of the wood while creating a modern design with mass appeal, transforming debris into beautiful abstractions.

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