Sculpture Artist – Duluth, Minnesota
Wilmer Roballo is a “pandemic-born” artist who is a retired helicopter pilot and colonel in the Venezuelan Air Force. In the spring of 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown, Roballo found a single piece of driftwood lying on the beach in Duluth, Minnesota that looked to him to be a woman’s upstretched arms. Inspired by his find, he found her legs and finally her head. He used a serrated bread knife and some glue to create The Lady of the Lake. Curious about what else he could find, he returned to the beach, collected more driftwood, and made more sculptures…The Loon, Don Quixote & Dulcinea, The Unicorn Pegasus, and Icarus Falling from the Sky. He got lots of positive feedback but resisted calling himself an artist claiming that because “the wood tells him what it wants to be” he could not take credit for his ideas. Roballo continued to create and had his first art show in the spring of 2021 in his front yard. With features about him in the local newspaper and on the news, word spread and the show was a great success. He began to believe in his identity as an artist. Roballo has continued to create sculptures, ranging in sizes from handheld to a life-sized horse and a dragon. As some are too big for the house, several of them remain in the front yard. Passersby often stop to look and take pictures of them. Roballo married Susanna Ojakangas in July 2021. She is the business manager and together they are hiking the steep learning curve of opening a home art gallery.