Daniel Ramras is a 72-year-old wood sculptor who has been collecting wood from Arizona, California and Washington for years. Once he retired from environmental chemistry and project management, he started consistently creating wood sculptures. Ramras was nominated for "Artist of the Week" by his wife of 53 years, Cora Mackoff-Ramras.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Daniel Ramras: My first significant art works were at Arizona State University (ASU) in 1971-72, which included cast bronze and aluminum metal sculpting, welding/brazing steel and heavy metal machining. My favorite process was sculpting from found wood logs. I have accumulated and stored numerous logs since that time with the forethought of restarting my artistic journey in retirement.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I begin by studying the log over a period of time to get a sense of its natural form. Then as sculpting progresses, the wood guides me.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
I have studied many famous stone, metal and wood sculptors including David Smith and Henry Moore. I was fortunate enough to experience an outdoor exhibit of Moore in Florence, Italy, in the seventies. My inspiration comes from the wood itself. I have always been inspired by Michelangelo, who stated, "Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
My task as a sculptor is to discover the ultimate form inside each piece. I do not sketch, but simply mark up the piece I am working on as it evolves.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Yes, two actually: the first was my final project at ASU from a found piece of olive wood circa 1972. The second is a large scale replica of a small soapstone carving from 1977 that I reproduced in olive wood in 2020.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Great question. My 50+ year relationship with my wife, our two children and our travels of the world have been the most important part of my life, and she continues to support my desire to keep practicing my art.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
Currently, my art resides in my home or shop/studio.
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
I just completed a piece in pine wood from a friend's fallen tree in San Diego and am working on another piece in hickory from a friend in Ashland. I have seven logs of various types stockpiled on my deck and am constantly looking for more olive wood as I travel up and down the west coast. Each log sits patiently waiting to be discovered.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!).