Raised in the Appalachian Mountains, James (Joey) O’Brian was inspired by his father, a carpenter and builder, with whom he worked as a youth. Since the 1970s Joey has worked as a conductor for the NS (Norfolk Southern) Railroad, but has he continued his woodworking, building homes and crafting trims, furniture, and smaller artistic pieces.
Joey uses a variety of woods, often combining different varieties in a single piece. He sands extensively to perfect the wood’s natural glow. He uses a wide array of finishes, but also leaves many pieces natural. He enjoys the unique grain of each piece of wood, and is intrigued by wood with naturally decayed, distressed and/or spalted areas.
Joey has a passion for finding unique wood. He comments, “Simply finding the wood or seeing potential in materials that others have discarded is an integral part of the art itself.” Since 2011 Joey has been developing a series of crosses.
Works by the James (Joey) O’Brian can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.