Garrison clearly remembers his very first piece – a small stone baboon. Although greatly impressed by the work of older artists, he has striven to establish his own style – recently resisting the use of materials other than stone and instead concentrating on improving his skills as a carver.
His work involves the portrayal of heads and the human torso as well as animals and birds – often working from images he has had in his mind since a young boy. At Chapungu, where he has worked since 1989, he has been particularly influenced by the exotic birds that surround him. The depiction of the male and female torso came about through experimentation at a stage when he wanted to test his abilities. “I used the first one to see what I was capable of carving and even now, with each new torso I try and test myself and improve my skill”. Although his heads are anonymous he works from a strong image in his mind and sometimes combines characteristics seen in actual people. He rarely works representationally, but rather changes and abstracts the original image in some way. These distortions are very natural and gentle and serve to enhance the form rather than to disseminate it. By extending the lines and curves found naturally in the subject, he feels he not only challenges himself as a sculptor, but also provides great stimulation and interest to the viewer.
There are no hidden messages in his work; his intention is that it should stand for itself; simply a portrayal of things that interest him in some of the hardest natural material available to artists today. He works mostly in Black Serpentine, but prefers Springstone when it is available. Some recent pieces have been in Opal Stone but he also hopes to use Dolomite or Limestone in future work.
Work done in the last year include Proud Woman and Tree. Of this last piece he says, “I was walking in the bush one day and something appeared. I saw something moving which then seemed to change into a tree. I felt I wanted to try and carve something as powerful as this image left in my mind”. Garrison’s sculpture has been shown in this country as well as in several international exhibitions.