"I've never taken any art classes.": Birds in Art artist shares his unique story

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- There's no distance too far when it comes to your life's passion. Spencer Tinkham is one of 114 guest artists invited to the 44th Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau. He traveled the nearly 1,180 miles from Norfolk, VA.

Spencer Tinkham talks about his feature bird sculpture at Birds in Art (WSAW photo)

"This is kind of the pinnacle of bird art," Tinkham said, referring to the exhibition.

His passion for bird sculpture began when he was 8, from whittling common things like scrap wood and sticks -- to the unusual.

"Ivory soap bars throughout the house," Tinkham smiled. "Nothing was safe from me."

But perhaps more unusual about his story is that he's completely self-taught.

"I've never taken any art classes."

And that's pretty impressive when looking one of his latest creations, which is a sculpture of an alligator head peaking out of the water, with a mockingbird sitting on the tip of its snout.

"I wanted to do something crazy, a little different," Tinkham said.

The sculpture was made using reference points from an actual alligator skull.

"I worked on for about two months. The piece took the most amount of time."

The mockingbird was an inspiration from Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird".

"I made this piece kind of based on the current events for what's happening around this country and around the world."

He said being invited to show it here was special.

"It's just a huge honor and privilege to be here and have my work as part of this year's exhibition."