Lessons from a Whale Rider – Day 51

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 51 of the 365 Days Project is by Wick Ahrens.]

Sculpture of dolphins by Wick Ahrens
“Parallel Universe” by Wick Ahrens. Photo courtesy ©Wick Ahrens.

Developing depth in anything we do can only be achieved over time.

#51 – Depth has many layers and it is endless. Artists who have mastered their technique and work within their passion know that extraordinary results are attained by diving deeper every day into their subject.

In the beginning of my career, I kept searching for ways to create greater depth in my work. I felt I was only scratching the surface and as I strove to transcend the technical side of my work and create art that offered deeper meaning.

It took many years, but the answers came in stages. I first had to learn to create from what I knew best by tapping into my passion. (Integrity – Day 20). Then I had to find my “medium” – my language of choice (sculpture) and the materials that resonated best with that passion and my particular energy (When the Materials you Work With Choose YOU – Day 25). And soon I found myself surrounded by the influences and inspiration that supported my passion and my medium. (Seeking, Finding and Discovery – Day 38)
Only then was I able to begin diving deep.

Master whale sculptor Wick Ahrens knows all about diving deep, both figuratively and literally. He swam with humpbacked whales in Maui, and during a dive in Alaska, a 40-foot whale allowed the artist to stroke its throat – an encounter which transformed his life and his work. And he didn’t stop there. The sculptor continues to study whales through film and photo, with marine biologists and with holy men.

“I find myself dancing in the shop to get the poetic movement of these animals.” said Ahrens.

Depth is not a one-time experience, it’s a lifetime of experiences.

Whale sculpture by Wick Ahrens
“First Breath Number 2” by Wick Ahrens. Photo courtesy ©Wick Ahrens.

Wick Ahrens’ artwork can be viewed at: Wick Ahrens

Description of the images included in this post:
Parallel Universe
Wick Ahrens, Vermont
Acrylic on basswood, Vermont verde marble base

First Breath Number 2
Wick Ahrens, Vermont
Acrylic on basswood, Vermont verde marble base


The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

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One thought on “Lessons from a Whale Rider – Day 51

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  1. It is with great sadness that I learned that sculptor Wick Ahrens had passed away in 2016. He was raised on a dairy farm and had immense respect for the natural world. His love of whales grew from a mentorship under the late Clark Voorhees, also a carver of whales. Ahrens had an opportunity to study these majestic animals up close, and actually stroked the throat of a Humpback Whale in the Bay of Fundy. His plaques and sculptures grace the homes of collectors worldwide. His commission of a 17-foot gray whale and her calf is thought to be one of the largest wooden cetacean sculptures in the world.

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