Q&A with wood sculptor, teacher Wes Roberts
Wes Roberts is one of those people you meet and feel like you have known for years. Roberts is a friendly, engaging wood sculptor and member of the community.
He has the gift of being able work skillfully and artfully with both his mind and his hands. He has been a teacher, professor and has built elaborate homes and exquisite museum-ready pieces out of exotic woods.
Roberts can often be spotted riding his bike with his wife Myra along the islands or at one of BIG ARTS exhibits, where he and Myra, also a popular artist, show many of their pieces.
Where did you grow up?
What brought you to Sanibel?
A Southwest Florida friend and the bike trails of sanibel.
What do you appreciate most about Sanibel?
The weather (plus) this island has left room for nature to coexist with people. I like this and the continued celebration of the arts which is part of this island.
What did you do for a career before moving to Sanibel?
Taught sciences, built a couple of houses and I am a life-long wood sculptor.
Word has it you are a wood sculptor. What kind of art do you create?
Both contemporary and functional. The artist and (juror) Mary Voytek compared my work with NY artist Richard Deacon and I agree. I felt connected with his work when I saw it years ago in the Chicago sofa show.
What is your favorite piece? Why?
The large olive because it will always remind me of the summer that my son and I worked on it together.
A little birdie AKA your lovely wife and artist Myra Roberts said you are a veteran. What are you a veteran of? What military branch did you serve?
Navy Psych Ops unit in Vietnam called con yen vu.
I was a liaison for 10 village assistance teams in I corp 1968.
Do you veterans get the recognition and honor they deserve?
It is very true–freedom is not free– but in our democracy recognition and honor must be shared with those who who lead and exemplify peaceful coexistence with other cultures that have values that we will never fully understand. Veterans must be well taken care of.
Is there a better way to serve our veterans?
The judicious use of military is most important followed by good post engagement care and help in reintegrating within the community.
How do you observe Veterans Day?
I like to talk to veterans of other conflicts and make sure that my loved ones know some of those stories.
What hobbies and interests aside from wood sculpting do you have?
Bicycling, travel and reading.
What is your family life like?
I’m very lucky. I have healthy, intelligent and thoughtful children we communicate a lot, we all love the arts and movies and we like to continually educate ourselves – our gatherings are spirited.
What are your short and long-term goals?
A couple more sculptures, more travel.
You are probably one of the island’s perennial smilers. What do you attribute your happiness to?
I live on a beautiful island, I’m warm most of the time, I’m retired and healthy – what’s not to smile about.
Any advice for other in living a joyful life?
Zen is right: we have only this moment, each day is a gift to us the future and the past does not belong to us.