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Tiberious Johanson, Bear Heads

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About the Artist/Site

TJ Jenkins has used the nickname Tiberious Johanson since the age of 25. Even as a boy, he always made things, and after he left school he held a variety of jobs, including doing video compositing and production, teaching video production and Photoshop at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta and the Art Institute in Las Vegas, being a White Water River guide, serving as a ski resort lift operator, and loading aircraft for Delta and AirTran, a means for him to cheaply indulge his interest in traveling the world.

Inspired by the work of S.L. Jones, Jenkins—or Tiberious Johanson, as he is known as an artist—had begun carving human busts with an old chisel and claw hammer around 1997. Looking for a tool to help him rough out his wooden heads more quickly, he met Russell Ehart, the Kansas chainsaw carver. Ehart helped Tiberious get set up with chainsaw carving, and encouraged him, suggesting he should learn to carve bears. But with only a pile of old rotten fire wood, too short for a full bear, Tiberious began to practice making the heads. His neighbors encouraged his work, and he hung his first bear head in the trees along Moore Road in November 2012, mounting it tightly.

As he completes more, he adds them in secret, but always receiving permission from property owners before doing so. Some blend in and are rarely seen, but most are loud and hard to ignore. Although largely  unknown beyond the neighborhood, the locals enjoy searching for the bear heads along the 1.5 mile stretch, and have given them names and even created stories about them. Tiberious began to number them when he was told that they wanted to find them all. In January 2013 he created a website, www.bearheadroad.com, so people could see images, names, numbers, and information about all the bear heads.

“Long before I started chainsaw carving,” Tiberious writes, “I had been taking daily walks along Moore Road, looking for hidden sites like cemeteries, great views, and odd looking trees. I imagined what it might be like to live next to Viola Simpson, Glenn Stark, or Howard Finster, and to walk by or thru their creations every day. I just never thought of looking for it in my own yard.”

~Tiberious Johanson

 



Map and site information

Moore Road
Waldron, Missouri, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 39.256135 / -94.784435

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