Home Art-1 Derek Bencomo: Crafting Waves in Wood

Derek Bencomo: Crafting Waves in Wood

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By Ann Williams

Derek Bencomo emerges as a maestro, carving his own unique identity with Spartan dedication to his craft. Born and raised surfing the dynamic waves of California, Derek’s journey into the world of woodworking is a tale of passion, self-discovery, and a deep connection to the ocean.

Derek’s artistic odyssey began to take shape after his South Pacific sojourn, where he chased the thrill of surfing in exotic locales. Upon returning to the United States, he found solace and inspiration on the tranquil shores of Maui, Hawaii. It was here, amidst the whispers of the Hawaiian woods, that Derek’s hands first met the tools of a woodworker.

With no prior experience, Derek embarked on a journey of trial and error in the art of turning wood into intricate bowls, vases, and platters. The Hawaiian woods, with their exotic allure, became his canvas. Every piece stood as a testament to his persistence, with each curve and contour telling the story of a novice evolving into a seasoned artist.

Yet, Derek was not content with merely replicating the beauty of the wood; he sought to infuse his creations with a unique identity. Drawing inspiration from his years riding the waves and exploring the mysteries beneath the ocean’s surface, Derek began to carve his wood turnings. The result was nothing short of mesmerizing—vessels that seemed to dance with the fluidity of waves, capturing the essence of the sea’s eternal motion.

Derek’s work, a harmony of nature and life in Hawaii, speaks a language of its own. In his own words, “This wooden piece expresses my harmony with nature and life in Hawaii, successfully reflected in the movement and visual rhythm I find in the wind, water, and mountains.” The very soul of Hawaii breathes through his creations, a testament to the artist’s profound connection to his surroundings.

Never tethered to the figurative, Derek’s pieces balance mass and abstract lines, capturing a sense of motion with every turn. His sculptures mirror the figure of the wood itself, as if each piece is a conversation between the artist and the material. The lines, curves, and patterns, all abstract in nature, mirror the natural beauty of waves, stretches of beach, and the distant horizon.

There is a simplicity in Derek’s approach, a spartan elegance that allows the wood to speak for itself. The subtlety of wood grain becomes the backdrop against which his creations unfold—a canvas where nature’s own artistry collaborates with Derek’s skilled hands.

In a matter of years, Derek Bencomo’s works have transcended the confines of his Maui workshop. The allure lies not only in the aesthetic appeal of his creations but also in the narrative woven into each piece—the story of a surfer turned wood artisan, riding the waves of creativity with unwavering dedication.


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