Sculptures, Wooden Indians and Wood Art

Most people who know me, know that I love all different kinds of art forms and do a lot of networking. When I run across an artist who is deeply involved with an art form that I believe is on the endangered arts list, I’ll do a post on the art and the artist to try and bring more awareness to the art form which starts this post off

Wood Sculptures, Art


Wooden Indians

 Wood sculpture artist Thomas Jenkins


Toms Wood Arts

Artist Thomas Jenkins

Artist Thomas Jenkins is a sculpture artist that works with wood and produces wooden indians, wood art and many other kinds of wood sculptures large and small.

I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen a wooden indian in years. I remember as a child growing up wooden indians were at the local cigar shop, drug store and even the barber shop. It seemed where ever you looked there was a hand carved wooden indian greeting you at nearly every store front, especially if you grew up in the midwest such as I did.

It dawned on me that you really don’t see many artists carrying on wood art and the sculpture of wooden indians which goes back a couple of hundred years when our country was still in its infancy. I realize of course that wood sculpture is still an on going wood art but it’s mainly done with modern tools of the day where as back in the 17 and 1800’s wooden indians, wood art and sculptures were all done by hand as well as the decorative painting and faux finishing.

Ahhhh I bet you thought I wasn’t going to squeeze in the faux finishing and decorative painting part did you?

Well you must understand like I have posted in my other articles that art is all relative and without one you wouldn’t have the other.

hand carved wood art 520 233-4250

Toms Wood Art 520 233-4250

To bring more enlightenment to the subject I pulled a little information from Wikipedia and entered it below about the sculptures

Wooden Indians are often three-dimensional wooden sculptures several feet tall – up to life-sized. They are still occasionally used for their original advertising purpose but are more often seen as decorations or advertising collectibles

Because of the general illiteracy of the populace, early store owners used descriptive sculptures and wood art figures to advertise their shops’ wares. Wooden Indians and tobacco had always been associated because American Indians introduced tobacco to Europeans, and the depiction of native people on sculpture smoke-shop signs was almost inevitable. As early as the seventeenth century, European tobacconists used figures of Wooden Indians to advertise their shops. Because European sculptures had never seen a Native American, these early cigar-store “Wooden Indians” looked more like black slaves with feathered headdresses and other sculptured fanciful, exotic features. These wood art carvings were called “Black Boys” or “Virginians” in the trade. Eventually, the European wooden Indian sculptures began to take on a more “authentic” yet highly stylized native visage, and by the time the smoke-shop figure arrived in the Americas in the late eighteenth century, it had become thoroughly “Indian.”

After a few emails back and forth with Tom who I had met through a Linked In group called Art Marketing.  I decided to visit his  website and found that he has a unique style of sculptures and wood art. What really caught my eye and impressed me was the wooden indian. When asked, he told me that he especially loves doing the larger life size wood art sculptures because of the amount of detail.

Could you imagine a life size American Bald Eagle?

wood art by Thomas Jenkins

Contemporary wood sculpture Thomas Jenkins 520 233-4250

What I like about Toms work is he is versatility and with todays demand of contemporary sculptures he could custom design a large scale piece for any commercial project that was calling for wood art.

I have always been a fan of sculptures and wood art and have often thought about picking it up myself but I have always been drawn back to the brush. However I have worked with wood in my younger days when I custom designed and built furniture that a few of my family members and they still have it but that was at least 35 years ago lol.

I hope you all enjoyed this little trip in the another direction of the arts and aim to do more of these which most of you already know because I will write about unique musicians, artists and a number of other topics related to the arts. My next post is going to be about an artist who has many talents and delves in the Pop Art world and has a very unique style and fresh approach to Urban Art and he is right here in Naples. So I hope you all enjoyed this trip into the world of

Sculptures, Wooden Indians and Wood Art

If you would like to contact Thomas Jenkins you can do so by email, phone, or through his website

Thomas Jenkins

Toms Wood Art

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