Imperfectly Perfect


Artist Ian Love transforms forgotten trees into memorable works of art

Naturally sourced fallen timber from Long Island. Photos courtesy of Ian Love.

“Once I started making things and being interested in art and design, it opened the floodgates in a different part of my creative side. It makes me feel like a kid again, which is a great feeling,” says former musician Ian Love about beginning a new career as a wood artist in his forties. Brought on by the tragic loss of his mother and a move out of New York City to Long Island, Love unexpectedly discovered his ability to create functional art pieces out of large-scale spalted wood. After spending time with a neighbor who sold firewood, the self- taught artist was inspired to shape objects out of the discarded pieces. “Eventually I started making things with what I got from him,” he notes. “Once I realized this is what I wanted to do, I began deepening my practice and made an effort to get as much as possible out of each tree.”

This led to the formation of his “singular tree concept,” a process in which Love uses the entirety of each piece of locally sourced fallen wood and allows the shape and imperfections found in the piece to guide the final creation. “I first fell in love with these beautiful trees here in Long Island and didn’t have it in me to discard anything left over, so I think the sustainability came after using the material but in a natural way,” he remarks. “I’m not sure how things get wasted in the design industry, but I personally use local resources within a small radius and search for materials that were on their way to a dump or ready to be wood chipped. The wild thing is I’m not getting subpar material; it’s some of the best lumber I’ve ever seen that’s completely unique and it’s coming from right where I live.”

Hand-carved wood stools and tables available at Blackman Cruz. Photos courtesy of Ian Love.

From hand-carved seating, lighting and objects to exclusive installations commissioned by iconic firms such as Gensler, Love’s one-of- a-kind pieces are finding their way into very important projects. “I’m experimenting with new designs and hoping to create more commission- based, large-scale pieces. I’m really excited that Blackman Cruz is carrying my carved tables and representing me on the West Coast,” he says. “It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done and it’s exhausting on my body and mind, but I am really grateful that no matter how many hours I work, it doesn’t feel like a job.”

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