O.L. Samuels is an artist who makes his strange and beautiful creatures “with the help of the spirit.” Each piece is carved very precisely based on how the spirit moves him and then he spends hours painstakingly decorating them. He has used tree trunks, branches and roots, layers of paint, glitter, sawdust and beads. Surprisingly he is color-blind and yet somehow the shades of paint all match up perfectly.
Each piece of wood tells him what it needs to be and then he begins his work. He creates beautiful birds, grinning golems, bedazzled gators, happy hobgoblins and other creatures. And each piece of art has a story behind it, which is often fantastical. In addition to being a self-taught artist, O.L. is also a wonderful storyteller. And at the ripe young age of 80, he has many tales to tell.
(All photos courtesy of and copyright by Michael Abrams)