The art and craft of Marquetry consists of applying pieces of wood veneer to a surface to make decorative designs, patterns or pictures. The technique dates back to the ancient world, and became popular in Europe in the 16th century. Errol Bruce taught himself the craft of marquetry, and uses it to make original, vibrant works of art. This exhibition features works chosen from the walls of the artist’s home in Macon, Georgia.
Errol Bruce is a native of Trinidad. The southernmost of the Caribbean islands, Trinidad is located off the coast of the South American country of Venezuela. As a result the island is rich with diverse cultural influences. As a youth, Bruce put his artistic eye and creative skills to work participating in the annual Carnival celebrations. Carnival is celebrated on the island each year right before Ash Wednesday. The celebration includes music, dance, and massive parades that feature elaborate and intensely colorful masquerade costumes. Bruce designed masks and costumes, and at the age of fifteen became the youngest costume designer to create Carnival masquerades, or “mas.”
Bruce came to the U.S. in 1990. He studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He worked as an accountant in Queens, New York before embarking on his art career in the U.S. Bruce began experimenting and teaching himself the craft of marquetry in the 1980s. Before that he put his artistic energy into making clocks and jewelry boxes from recycled wood.
As a marquetry artist, Bruce is completely self-taught. He uses no paint in his creations. The images are crafted from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pieces of cut and stained wood artfully composed to create a variety of textures and visual effects. Bruce is fond of using exotic woods from across the U.S., Indonesia, Guyana and the continent of Africa. Since taking up marquetry, Bruce has maintained a career as an exhibiting artist, participating in group and solo exhibitions in New York, New Jersey and across the U.S. When talking about his own creative journey, Bruce stated that being an artist is, “what I’ve been put here to do … no matter where I go, I keep my eye on everything. I take nothing and make something out of it.”