James “Dawg” Woods of Lansing is well known in the area as a primitive wood-worker, artist and fiddle player, as well as an avid bear hunter, trainer of Plott hounds and the proprietor of Phipps General Store.
But he plans to make a bid for national recognition when he goes to the Slotin Folk Fest in Atlanta on Aug. 18 of this year, he said, where his work will be seen at the “world’s largest folk art show.”
Woods, 53, started drawing as a small child, but stopped when he got into high school, he said. “I was too busy hunting and fishing and things…I never took it seriously.”
He picked it back up again in his 40s when he sat down to design a tattoo, and soon found himself “fiddling around for hours at night” developing his distinctive mixed media style.
Woods has no name or descriptor for his style, which uses pen and ink, acrylic paint and hand-made frames of reclaimed wood that are unque to each peice. “Another artist called it stylized folk art,” he said.
His pieces range in size and complexity from small framed pen-and-ink etchings that may take a two or three weeks to complete, to large mixed-media tableaux, rich in color and detail, that take months to complete, he said.
Woods said he draws on scenes and characters of mountain culture in his work. His familiar hillbilly caricatures speak in what he calls an “Ashe County dialect.”
Wood’s work is on exhibit on the second floor of the Ashe County Library through the end of January.
He also has artworks and other craft pieces display and for sale at Pie on the Mountain in Lansing, and at Bayou Winston Restaurant and General Store in Banner Elk.