Known in the Gulfport community for constructing and creating an instrument out of seed pods from queen palm trees (the podharp), and dazzling fans with his musical talent in his band, The Tortugas, Berkeley Grimball has embarked on a new project.
When he moved to Gulfport three years ago, Grimball took notice of the seed pods littering his yard. Naturally, he wandered over to the stray pieces and inspected them, amazed at their resilience and durability.
He played around with the possibilities of pieces he could create out of the sturdy and steady wood. Eventually, he assembled his podharp: a 5-foot tall, 21-string instrument resembling the kora. Now, Grimball focuses his art on more delicate subject matter: the vagina.
“[They are] vaginal in [their] look. I mean the seed pods, they kind of look, they kind of ask for that,” he paused. “They’re like the vaginas of the tree, really… It’s almost like it chose me because they’re so evocative, and that was sort of weird. The form led to that.”
After picking a pod that suits him, Grimball dedicates between 20 and 30 hours creating each sculpture. He relies on the pods and bamboo as his sole materials for the wall sculptures.
“It’s a very organic process. I’m dealing with totally organic materials; you have to be fairly fluid in how things come together because materials are going to do what they want to do,” Grimball explained.
He sells the sculptures for between $400 and $500 each.
“I’m hoping to have quite a few pieces made for the February art show,” Grimball said. Although his work in the February Gulfport Fine Arts Festival won’t focus solely on his vaginal art, he will include them alongside his display of pod and bamboo sculptures.