This time an indian, bear and eagle: Luke Harris creates artistic masterpieces out of snow or wood
ALTON - Carver Luke Harris has attracted attention for years along Seminary in Alton with his beautiful carvings and this week he unveiled a snow carving that featured an Indian, a bear, and an eagle.
Harris, now 74, is recognized as part of the “Itchy Brothers Carving” unit with his partner Don Johnson. The two are viewed constantly around the region with their carving abilities during demonstrations.
Harris said when people stop and honk, he knows he has a hit and he seems to love the positive response he gets to his work.
Carving snow is different than wood, Harris said.
“The biggest difference is the snow is not going to last long,” he said. “With wood, once you make the cut, it is done. It is quicker to correct with snow.”
Harris has a carving at Pere Marquette State Park that took about a week and still is there years later. He said the carving that drew the most attention at his home in the 3900 block of Seminary in Alton was one of the Incredible Hulk. People still talk to him about the Incredible Hulk carving he says.
Harris and Johnson used to team up for contests all over the country and attracted national attention. Today, he enjoys a slower pace and when he hears the toot of car horns, he considers it a great compliment.
Harris has always been an artist and said he was once a cartoonist for Stars and Stripes.
He and Johnson have been long-time friends and co-workers, first in the steel mill for 30 years, then afterward with carving. He said Don is a very good guy with a funny name. “He wears socks unlike the other Don Johnson, the character in Miami Vice,” Harris laughed.
“The Itchy Brothers” will carve as part of the Groundhog Day festivities on Saturday, Feb. 2, in Alton.
Harris said because of the interest in the carvings, he may do another one with snow this winter.
“Wood carving is something I love to do,” he said. “I just like artwork. It has been part of my life for a long time.”