Biography JEFFREY NEIL HUGHES is a master woodcarver, having earned this unique designation over twenty five years of perfecting his skill while creating larger than life pieces of art. He was raised in the north Texas Dallas suburb of Mesquite. It wasn’t until his high school senior year that he enrolled in his first art course. It did not take long for his incredible talent to be recognized as his artistic abilities earned him the school’s annual Outstanding Artist award. He is the only first year art student in his instructor’s thirty-plus year career to have received such an award. He received a similar award four years later as his collegiate peers voted him outstanding artist of the year.

Jeffrey’s destiny in becoming a Master Woodcarver developed over the following four years while taking a circuitous route. Overruling the attraction to his new-found gift and for his love of art, and as a result of his Christian foundation, Jeffrey chose to attend Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas rather than to attend an institution of art education. However, he did enroll in various art courses ranging from drawing and painting to pottery, but it wasn’t until he took a class in wood and metal sculpture that his destiny was sealed. Feeling an immediate attraction to the warmth of wood and to the intricate art of woodcarving he began to seek a place to develop his skills.

Jeffrey learned of Silver Dollar City, a place where artisans of many crafts gather to create, located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains near Branson, Missouri. The Silver Dollar City woodcarving shop recognized his talent and offered him a place to hone his skills. For the following ten years he designed, demonstrated, carved and taught classes in woodcarving. With his combination of talent and charisma he received Silver Dollar City’s title of “Image Maker”. Featured on television and in brochures, Jeffrey represented the epitome of the master craftsman found in Silver Dollar City. His designs and carvings were featured in a Sears Christmas catalog and his commissioned sculptures were presented to selected dignitaries in Europe including Scotland’s Duke of Edinburgh.

Feeling stifled by the boundaries of the niche that had been created for him, Jeffrey made the decision in 1989 to relocate to the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. Jeffrey says he “came home” upon reaching these mountains. The majestic surroundings inspired artistic growth as he perfected his skills in architectural work with intricately carved doors and fireplace mantels, later moving on to life-sized wildlife carvings. Though Jeffrey is equally proficient in both two-dimensional relief and three-dimensional sculpture, his understanding of perspective and dimension sets his relief carving apart. His 3’ by 5’ Polar Bear relief carving was awarded “Best of Show” at the 1998 American Craftsmen Custom Woodworking Exhibition in Vail, Colorado.

Over the years Jeffrey has sought new ways to showcase and present his artistic talents thus leading him in recent years to work in bronze as well as wood. His full-sized woodcarving of a mountain lion entitled “Klandaghi-and of the Mountain”, which now resides in a private home, was his first piece to be duplicated into a limited edition bronze, on a smaller scale. His latest is “Zok Shaia Wena”, a black rhino, the first of a series of “The African Big Five”. This series will include the Cape Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, and Elephant to be created, one each year, over the coming four years.

Jeffrey has his art on display in homes and businesses across the United States and in Europe. He resides in Estes Park, Colorado.

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©1988-2010 Jeffrey N. Hughes.