Chainsaw Art


I remember as a child growing up in Montana being completely amazed by the wooden bears, eagles, mountain men and Indians created by chainsaw artists. I would watch in awe as the wood chips flew. The saws would roar as the artists allowed their chains to dig into the wood in ways that seemed to me wild and random. As they continued their work a familiar form would begin to appear out of the apparent chaos of their movements. Before long there would be a beautiful sculpture. The final product had a freedom and honesty unlike any other art form.

The personality, humor and style of the artist is expressed in ways many other mediums will not allow. From the bears holding signs that say, “Go Away”, to the large totem poles reminiscent of native cultures from the northwest, to the delicate detailed ice sculptures found at winter festivals, all are beautiful expressions of an artist’s vision.

Chainsaw art has grown from an obscure backwoods hobby to become an accepted art form with a large audience. The art form is often times performance art as much as a medium of meaningful sculpture. Many artists bill themselves and their time out as attractions at carnivals, fairs, festivals and anywhere else their work is appreciated. Organizations have been formed for the promotion and publication of such artists. One such performer has gone so far as to open a theater for the sole purpose of demonstrating his art.

Most artists seem to have started as a hobby to see if they could do it. As they gained experience and their ability grew many realized the marketable nature of their hobby and dedicated themselves to create and sell their pieces. Commissioned work is another way chainsaw artists make a living. People will commission them to turn an unsightly stump on their property into a beautiful work of art. Log cabin owners will have the natural forms of their home transformed into beautiful delicate expressions of things they love.

Some chainsaw art purists will use only a chainsaw while many others use chisels hammers and power tools to finish their pieces. Either way it is a unique art form that deserves mainstream attention and appreciation.

Source by Tom Birlinson

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