Add to My Favorites Knox Galleries
Jay Chester "SKIP" Armstrong

Biography - Jay Chester "SKIP" Armstrong

Chester Armstrong roots run deep in
Central Oregon, his chosen home. He was
born and raised in Berkeley California
and in Ihe 1960's, attended U.C. Berkeley
and graduated with a degree in poetic
Theory and philosophy. In the early 70' s,
after traveling through 'Central America
and with a brief stay in Vermont he came
north to Oregon looking for ' untracked
space's", where the stars are not drowned out by city lights, and for the past thirty-five years has lived outside The lttle town of Sisters, Oregon. He lives with his wife,
singer song writer, Anastacia, in the
shadow of the Three Sisters mountains, on 20 acres at the edge of The
wilderness ... AII his inspiration. To quote
Chief Seattle, • The further we get fram
The forest floor, The less human we
become." " I would rather live in the
middle of nowhere than any city on
earth."
Armstrong is a self taught artist with a
"can do attitude". He helped run a YMCA
camp at Spirit Lake, Washington, before
MT. ST. Helen blew, in the early 70s and
wanted to introduce the campers to
Native American North West totem poles
and masks . He couldn't find anyone to
teach the class so took on the role of
teacher himself and found he had a
natural gift for shape and proportions. " I can "see" the forms in the raw logs. It is like Michelangelo says," Just take away everything that doesn't look like nine horses running" ... And for the last forty
years, chainsows, grinders, and chisels in hand Armstrong has done just that. " I'm hooked on wood sculpture ."
Out of local Oregon woods,( eg.Juniper, Maple, Pine, and Walnut) Armstrong carves the world he sees
surrounding .. . Eagles, ospreys, wolves, cougars ... coyotes howling at the moon ... herons perched majestically at the
rivers edge ... "the magic of life" ... "This is what moves me. This, and the wild herds af mustangs that inhabit the west
of my imagination". Armstrong is best known for his horses, thundering herds all moving rhythmically as one.
Armstrong's artistic style can be described as, "slightly stylized realism" where the grace and rhythm of the
sculptures outline or silhouette tokes precedents over anatomical accuracy. Although his horses "look like horses" he
says," the art of sculpture is not to recreate the world verbatim but to interpret it." His sculptures are charged with movement and emotion. " I carve to reawaken the soul of the viewer to the primal energy and life force of earth based imagery. My sculptures move in the rhythm of circles, spirals, and flowing lines dictated as much by the grain lines of the wood itself as by my own sense of the harmony of the natural world. " Wood sculpture, like stone sculpture, is a subtractive process. You "toke away" to reveal the form within. It is arduous and demanding and combines both artistic inspiration and physical perspiration. It is yielding but not
forgiving. It does not allow for mistakes. But wood is organic, worm and "olive" and creates a "one of a kind"
unique piece of art that traces it's beginnings bock to the living tree blown by the wind and fed by the sun and
waters of the earth. Today, more than ever, we need to "reverence the natural world." My wood sculpture is," the
water that quenches that thirst." It is the touching and being touched by the spirit of the Earth.
Armstrong 's work can be found in galleries throughout the west·Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, Taos, Santa Fe, Jackson Hole, Park city, Sedona etc .. In churches, most notably the 16 foot high Cathedral doors of SI. Marys in Boise, Id. and resorts throughout Central Oregon. Special projects are always welcome. Some of his most notable collectors include Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Olivia Newton John, Nic Nolte,
President Bush, Michael Jackson, T.Boone Pickens Harold Coursen ... all friends of mine.