Big things are happening at College of the Redwoods. Our Jonathon Keats visit was mega-successful. He left a trail of blown minds in his wake that is longer than a redwood is tall.
If you live on the North coast, get ready for our next big art event. I'm happy to introduce you to the "cherubs" of chainsaw sculpture. I originally called them the "monsters" of chainsaw sculpture, but they objected, insisting they were closer to cherubs. So it goes. On Thursday, May 6th, CR will be hosting chainsaw artists Jessie Groeschen, Zoe Boni, and Pat McVay, three internationally famous chainsaw sculptors who will be demonstrating their mad skillz on campus from 10:00-4:00 outside the creative arts building. Later that evening, they'll be lecturing about the wild world of chainsaw art at the Accident Gallery in Eureka at 8:00.
The North Coast of California, where I live, chainsaw carvers are as abundant as termites in New Orleans. That's a good thing. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting an establishment on Highway 101 that sells chainsaw Sasquatches, bears...and just about anything else you can dream up. Many a tourist leaves the redwoods with a chainsaw-carved bigfoot strapped to the top of their Volvo.
Chainsaw art goes way beyond the roadside stand, though. The first experiments with gasoline-powered chainsaws happened in the summer of 1905 right here in Eureka, California. Since then, chainsaws have gotten lighter and more portable. The first chainsaw sculptors emerged in the 1950's. In the early 1960's, North Coast tourist magnet The Trees of Mystery commissioned a series of artworks from Ken Kaiser called "The Trail of Tall Tales" that still stands nearly 50 years later.
Currently, there are dozens of chainsaw carving competitions that occur all over the world. Jessie, Zoe and Pat have all carved competitively, and all of them have their own studio and gallery work as well. The world of chainsaw sculpture is as diverse as any artistic field, with figurative, abstract and even post-modern styles in just about any wood imaginable. At the College of the Redwoods event, the sculptors will use local, sustainably harvested wood for their creations.
literally wrote the book on chainsaw carving. Her 2005 book Art of
Chainsaw Carving: An Insider's Look at 18 Artists Working Against the
Grain is arguably the definitive book on the subject. She'll be signing copies of the book at the Accident Gallery lecture. Zoe Boni will also be signing copies of her instructional DVD.
Come on down to College of the Redwoods for this day-long celebration of the chainsaw. We'll be waiting for you!