Photo by Ben Liddle
Every so often I will go into the yard, pick up a log, bring it inside and start going at it with a small drill or a grinder or some sandpaper thinking "Brent makes it look so easy!" But it is not easy. It is far from easy. I've seen him amaze woodcut experts ("You can't make those lines so thin!") and stun local carpenters ("I don't know why you are making this but it is pretty impressive!"). I think his outsider artistic upbringing actually makes a difference in the way he approaches woodworking and, now that I think about it, all of his art/filmaking...he starts a project with "I want to make this with this" and is totally oblivious to what he should use or what materials are supposed to do. It is actually amazing to see in action and I'm still not sure how he carves those wooden lines so thin...but he does! And it is wonderful!
A lot of the set pieces for Gravity are Brent carved sculptures. The piano is my favorite- he used it to lure me to the woods, sending in progress pictures while I imagined a life outside of my NY cubicle. He hand carved each key, the top is made from bended slats of wood, the base is smoothly grinded and stained boards glued together and, best of all, it works! The stars and moon in the film are also wooden- thinly routed down plywood with layered edges for depth. Most of the furniture- the chairs, the stove, the bed- are also handmade wooden pieces. Hell, even Leonard's house is a sculpture complete with ornamented window frames, oddly curved towers and stilted staircases! (I'll post more about the house later!) Only downside: sawdust.
Apparently I am bad at doing his woodworking justice in photos...I think there are some much better ones on Brent's site though!