Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wow! I finally meet the chainsaw artist!

We whizzed past this Viking on our way up to the Little Susitna River overlook in the afternoon; Dotter promised faithfully that we would stop on our return trip. As you know by now, I've a weakness for chainsaw art. Besides, I promised a post for the inner he-man & what, I ask, could be more studly than creating statuary with a chain saw!

Though I do admire Viking stalwarts, a closer look told me that this fellow was definitely a follower, not a leader of men. All muscle, he looks to be.

Here's the Big Picture of what closer inspection revealed -- an outdoor studio for the sculptor and his partner, with several works in progress:

...a sturdy chair for the Round Table, hollowed from a large log...

...a large Welcome sign, held by two standard Alaskan chain saw bears, plus several other bears in various stages of emergence from spruce logs.

Jimmy Kitchen is the chain saw man, here with two of his smaller bears. He was interested to know that there are carvers, as they style themselves, back in Prescott in Arizona and we also compared notes on our mutual bark beetle problems. In Alaska, it is the spruce tree that is under attack and apparently a great many trees have died. In fact, I've seen a number of dead spruce, which are quite black, unlike the pale needles on our dying Ponderosa pines.

Jimmy has won ribbons for his work in competitions around the state. Featured in the cafe is the unusual whale (below), complete to barnacles on its flippers and tail.

Among the finished carvings on display near the highway were the wildlife totem (above) and the toadstool (below).

Also a bright red flower, courtesy of Jimmy's sculpting partner who's also his girlfriend.


TomboCheck said...

I feel manlier(?) already!

Nothing like chainsaw art in the morning. :)

Lucy said...

They really are impressive, aren't they? I like the whale especially.

My niece had a boyfriend who did chainsaw art, he did a relirf carving on a beam in my brothers house of leaves that was surprisingly delicate - though he may have used an angle grinder for that!

Anonymous said...

Great post, I really enjoyed it. I would probably cut and arm off trying that.

Anonymous said...

Glacier photos from OmegaDotter, and flowers and chain saw art from you, GrannyJ!

You are spoiling us, and please do not stop!

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

tombo -- you know you would love to have one of those bears smiling at you when you wake up!

lucy -- a chauvinist pig I am == I always figured that the chainsaw sculpt was a peculiarly American folk art from the machine age. The first time I consulting The Google on the subject, I was quite disabused, with gnomes from Norway, Koi from Japan and no end of other critters from around the world, all done-up with the ubiquitous chainsaw.

steve -- you and me both; chainsaws scare the bejeesus out of me.

anon av -- you'd be amazed at what's up in a few days. However, I've got to take time out from the quirky to do just a little bit of landscapes. They're awesome, beautiful -- and piling up in my photofile.

meggie said...

Such interesting entries, as usual.
The hanging flowers are a bit of a surprise.

Granny J said...

meggie --the flowers were much more of a surprise than the chainsaw art in this very Paul Bunyan-ish sort of country, you can believe!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Michelangelo say that every log or stump already has a sculpture inside it. You only have to chainsaw the extraneous wood out of the way.

Well...somebody said it.

Granny J said...

boonie -- something like that...

Anonymous said...


I am wondering if anyone knows a chain saw artist looking for wood to sculpt. I have a good bit of a eucalyptis tree that got torn up by a recent storm. What is left is fairly substantial and I could see someone with chainsaw artistic talent doing justice to what is left of the tree. I have to cut its sister down too (unfortunately). Let me know!! Ann 480-277-7260

Granny J said...

I wish that I could help you, Ann -- unfortunately, I am not acquainted with any of the local chain saw sculptors around town. It does seem to be a waste not to make use of your tree, though I understand that many eucalypts are pretty tough.

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