Hammock Carvings: Paul Baliker, Sculptor of Nature’s Balance at Man’s Mercy
FlaglerLive | September 8, 2011
Local artist uses his art to illustrate what real life struggles to balance.
Hidden away along A1A in the Hammock is Palm Coast artist Paul Baliker’s own landmark: his home, sculpture studio and gallery.
Baliker, 57, has created more than a thousand pieces throughout his 35 years of sculpting. He pays close attention to human relation with nature and strives to carve out an environmental statement with each piece of art.
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“We need to pay attention to our world,” he says. “The most important thing that man should do right now is save the environment. I can bring out art that makes people think about these issues.”
Most of Baliker’s time is used doing commission work but every six months or so he takes a break to create a piece for himself, where he gets to stretch his own creativity and create unique environmental sculptures. “I prefer to create large environmental sculptures,” he said. The self taught artist uses mostly cedar wood or old root systems to carve, or bronze, which he sometimes fuses with wood.
In 2010, Baliker spent six months working on a wood sculpture called “A Matter of Time” for the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Mich. The piece “focuses on man’s powerful position in nature,” he said. This art statement is now on display at Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in Mexico City.
Baliker’s most recent major work, created this year, is called “Ocean Exodus,” where the what-if scenario is dealing with the very real possibly of the world’s oceans becoming too compromised to keep up a strong ecosystem.
“Represented in the sculpture are various ocean life forms, including various fish, crustaceans, reptiles,octopus, plant life, and mammals,” reads the scul;pture’s description. Baliker entered it in this year’s ArtPrize. “This sculpture is created as fantasy, however the premise is real. In this situation the ocean inhabitants are simply leaving, rather than being poisoned, over fished, and exploited out of existence. It is a call for the viewer to take action to prevent this. Imagine an ocean too toxic to sustain life.”
“I’m allowing all the ocean creatures to leave the planet. Man is in the middle because he holds the fate,” Baliker says. “Imagine an ocean too toxic to sustain life,” Baliker said. “That’s what we are facing.”