Fran Moore is an unlikely artist. A real estate agent who says he didn’t do anything creative until the age of 43, Moore’s first step in his artistic journey was replacing a stained glass window in his Hollywood Heights home 17 years ago. Since then, he has gone on to create mosaic tile pictures, tiffany style lamps, and his current passion: intricate woodcarvings. He recently carved a clock inspired by his visits to several Russian churches. The timepiece, which took him one and a half years to finish, is reminiscent of 17th and 19th century Russian cathedrals.

Why did you start creating art so late in life?

When I moved into this house, all the stained glass had been removed. When a glass shop said they wanted $1,000 to do a small window, I said the heck with this, I’ll do it myself.

How did you get from the functional to the truly artistic?

I just started adding items to the house. The bottom line is I wanted my home to have a lot of detail. So I started out by just changing out tile in the bathroom and from there went to patterns — and then mosaic pictures. It’s just been a gradual progression. Then I decided to do work I could take with me if I sold the house, but I still use the house as a practice gallery.

How did you get into woodcarving?

My dentist friend sold his practice to become a wood carver. After seeing his work, I asked: Where could I learn this? He referred me to a German master, Ludwig Kieninger. Picture a five-foot-five Bavarian with a goatee and a very stern look on his face, but when it comes to woodcarving, he’s a virtuoso, incredible. He’s certified in Germany, one of a very few in the world.

What was your first wood carving?

My first piece was a replica of my house — a small English tudor. From there, I did picture frames. The first intricate piece I tried was a turn-of-the-century American carousel horse with my family coat of arms. Ludwig said to make each piece more difficult than the last, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

Do you prefer one artistic style over any other?

I prefer realism. The viewer can more easily judge it. We see it every day, and it’s easier to make a comparison or appreciate the artist’s interpretation.

What do you enjoy most about woodcarving?

The creative process. I think it’s physically and mentally good for you to dream up things and try to bring them to life. It’s therapeutic. Also, I feel that when you have hobbies that inspire you, you are never bored. I think the last time I was bored was in 1988.


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