Uncle Burt's Tree
This sculpture is a collaboration with nature, to celebrate both the rich beauty of walnut wood and the time and place in the life story of this particular tree. The wood comes from a historic eastern black walnut that stood more than 80 feet tall and was famous in Vacaville, California. It was thought to have been planted on the Wycoff Ranch when Burt Wykoff was born in 1886. Its nuts were used to start over 100 walnut groves in California and, in 2002, it was honored with a historic plaque. During its more than 100 years of life, the mighty tree went from shading horse drawn wagons on ranchland to being engulfed by a city and, finally, to standing alone surrounded on all sides by pavement, weakened and attacked by insects. In 2012, the tree was considered a safety hazard and cut down. For Ido, the rings of a tree, the textures, damage, and weathering are all important elements of its life—to be acknowledged and honored.
Ido Yoshimoto grew up on Inverness Ridge, among a community of accomplished artists, on surrealist painter Gordon Onslow Ford’s land. His godfather was pioneering wood sculptor J.B. Blunk and his father was artist Rick Yoshimoto. Ido spent 20 years working as an arborist with the Bolinas tree-work company, Pacific Slope. His years working in trees and local habitats contribute to his deeply held creative philosophy of presenting not only the beauty of wood, but also emphasizing the story that is recorded in the wood—of the time and place where it grew. Most of the wood he uses has been salvaged by himself, or occasionally sourced from Evan Shively’s mill in Tomales. Yoshimoto is gaining wide recognition and was recently featured in Architectural Digest, in an article about his simple, authentic lifestyle, the unique furniture and art he creates, and his environmental vision. Uncle Burt’s Tree was featured in Yoshimoto’s solo exhibition at Bolinas Museum.