PETE LOBO NEMEC, woodcarver and owner of LOBOS WOODWORKS in Rogers Park, interviewed about his craft and carves some wood; amusing story about scaring neighborhood children with wood-carved voodoo masks.
00:00Copy video clip URL Pete Lobo Nemec introduces himself and states that he is owner of a wood carving shop. He also does furniture repair. He says he carves every kind of wood except teak because he’s allergic to it. He notes that he carves in a variety of styles: Gothic, English decorative, folk, primitive. He shows examples, various carvings on the walls.
01:06Copy video clip URL The videographer asks Pete to turn his TV off, then continues showing off his work: masks, decorations, abstract wood art. He says he is inspired by everything. His mild interest in a variety of different topics serves as a continual source of ideas. His interest in architecture lead to him receiving a book about stone cutting and pictures of stone carved gargoyles lead to him carving wood gargoyles. An interest in boats lead to carving stern board eagles.
02:26Copy video clip URL He shows some scary masks he carved, one inspired by a nightmare he had. He shows a vampire-esque carving. He notes his favorite time of the year is Christmas. He shows off his shirt, a t-shirt with the words “Mama Tried” printed. He shows off items displayed in the window. A Gothic face with horns, an Indian named Louie, a bust of a man with something on its head.
04:09Copy video clip URL Nemec tells the story of placing a scary gargoyle statue in the store window facing rowdy kids playing just outside his shop. The kids freaked and called him Voodoo Man ever since. He tells of a customer who brought in a winged god from Thailand that was damaged. He repaired the piece which included some carving. Another had a statue of a choir boy damaged on the front. Nemec re-carved the damaged area and a colleague touched it up with paint.
04:48Copy video clip URL He gives a tour of his shop and work space. He shows his living quarters, the workshop. He lives here with his pet fish, an attack guard fish. He notes that he gets wood from a variety of places: professional shops, drift wood given by friends. Someone will deliver wood they’ve found. He says he’s a self-taught carver. He had a lot of art-related courses in college supporting his music major.
07:35Copy video clip URL Nemec shows off his carving tools and talks about what they do. A draw knife for knocking off a corner. A tack hammer. He says there’s a tool invented in Chicago, a particular kind of awl with thread in a spindle attached to it. Most of the tools are traditional, chisels carvers have used for hundreds of years. He notes that different shaped chisels produce different shapes in the wood. He notes that collecting tools is a horrible disease. But you need them and they last a lifetime.
09:43Copy video clip URL He says he doesn’t know a lot of carvers. He’s not aware of any other shop in Chicago. He says that markets for carvers include applying for grants, working at furniture stores, working at antique shops, museums. He says that carving is kind of a dying art. It’s solitary work. You need a particular personality, being alone for hours.
12:08Copy video clip URL Nemec comments that his shop is open Saturday and Sunday 4 to 7 or 8. He gives the shop’s number and address and says that because he lives at the shop he can be open by appointment any time.
12:32Copy video clip URL B-roll of Nemec working on a piece of wood, carving a face. Various shots. He comments that carving is subtractive work, chipping away the wood to find the finished piece. He says he’s worked as an industrial designer, musician, cartoonist, technical illustrator. He says it takes about ten years to really begin to learn how to use the tools. He says the problem with being self-educated is that there will always be holes in your education.
16:34Copy video clip URL He notes that role models include the likes of Gutzon Borglum and Leonardo Da Vinci. He continues carving a face, adding whiskers. He notes that carving and music are the same, just different mediums. In music, you have an idea in your head for a sound and you pick up an instrument and work it out. The same process is true of carving. He says a creative person will naturally approach anything in life with creativity.
19:08Copy video clip URL Nemec and the videographer head back into the store to look at Nemec’s finished carvings. He notes that having worked previously as a musician, he’s played blues, rock, light jazz. B-roll of the finished carvings displayed on the shop. He tells the story of wanting to go fishing one day and while looking at a book of fish got the idea to carve the world’s largest perch fish, which he presents.
20:25Copy video clip URL He shows off his Holy Cow carving, a cow with angel wings, as well as a pig with wings illustrating the expression “When Pigs Fly.” He shows off a giant wood carving of a human tooth. When asked what people can learn about life from coming into his shop, Nemec says, “take your time, use your imagination, you don’t know what you can do until you try.
21:23Copy video clip URL B-roll of Nemec’s carvings. Figures, figurines, masks, scary faces, animals, imagined creatures.
22:15Copy video clip URL Nemec shows off a scary face carving with big ears inspired by the look of a friend of his. He shows the finished carving. More b-roll of various carvings in the shop.
24:10Copy video clip URL Nemec notes that some of his controversial pieces in the front window elicit screams and anger from people. Most people like his work. He says his place is inviting. Customers will come in, he will offer them tea and sit around and chat.
25:36Copy video clip URL B-roll of figurines, statues of invented people. B-roll of masks, faces on the wall. One face has a fur collar on top for hair. He says a woman brought him a wild cat skin and an alligator skull someone else gave him. He uses them in his work.
27:15Copy video clip URL Nemec gives permission to use his image on TV.
27:21Copy video clip URL B-roll of the front of Nemec’s shop, carvings in the window display.
27:56Copy video clip URL END