Contemporary American artist Vic Barr is the driving force behind the cosmopolitan image of Matanda wood art. Vic began working in North American hardwoods quite by accident. Using his children as models and his basement as a studio, he tried his hand at acrylic painting and clay sculpting, but found satisfaction came with building the easels and stands he used to display those pieces. Vic discovered he had an innate talent for forming clean lines and subtle curves in wood, and soon began creating custom writing instruments for friends.
In 1993 Vic found himself in Boston for a convention. During a tour of the USS Constitution, he obtained several pieces of the oak timbers from the hull. With those pieces and a dexterous hand, Vic created "heritage pieces" – pens and desk sets that were sold with a Certificate of Authenticity only to those for whom the ship held special meaning. The emotional response from the owners of those pieces was overwhelming. Vic had realized his opus – art that was meaningful to both the artist and the buyer.
Soon Vic had amassed the tools of the trade and transformed his basement into a studio where he honed his precision skills. With the consummate skill of a master craftsman, he taught himself the classic rules of balance, depth, and aesthetics. But the goal of Matanda is deeper still – It is authoritative art that is symbiotic with nature.
Vic has expanded the Matanda line to include custom pieces such as humidors, jewelry chests, clocks and other pieces upon request. "I am happiest in my workshop – making drawers fit perfectly, feeling them slide smoothly. And retaining the beauty of the wood. Wood is beautiful in it’s own right, I don’t want to cover it, disguise it, or put it on a production line. It should express itself and me. If I can reuse heritage woods that have a history or hold special meaning for the buyer, well, that’s even more satisfying".