Saw Dogs...Chainsaw Art is Ready for Prime Time

01/20/2012

by Eileen Marable

Have you ever seen someone standing in front of a giant piece of wood considering it with the intensity of an artist’s eye? That knot on the side? That could be a nose on an impish face. Or that slight curve…that could become the delicate arch of an eagle’s wing.

If you are lucky, then you have. That’s what I saw when I first saw a chainsaw artist performing his craft. 

 

Saw Dogs airs Saturdays at 9p E/P

It was at a Nascar race, with a parking lot scene that looked like a traveling fair. There were booths and displays peddling everything from shirts and jewelry to beer cozies.  But, there was one display that always had the biggest crowd – the chainsaw carver. 

I wandered over to check it out not expecting much – it’s a log after all. Well, as it turns out, it’s NOT just a log.  It’s a labor of love.

What I saw was a guy looking at a log – much like I described above. Despite the noise and all the eyes on him, he considered the log from all sides and you could almost see the vision forming in his head.

When he got started, he attacked that log. Wielding what was likely more than a 20 lb. chainsaw he carved that log like a hot knife through butter.  As the crowds and I stood with our mouths hanging open (and getting covered in a shower of sawdust), first it was big sweeping cuts and then he moved on to fine movements and a back and forth motion that looked like polishing.

The end result – a bear standing on his hind legs with a salmon in his mouth. You could see every hair, every scale…they looked magnificent and it just fit that they were carved out of wood.

I don’t know who that carver was, but what I witnessed seemed like the marriage of two things.  Performance art – the speedy flashing of a chainsaw that any minute could cut something more than wood. And then there is the end result – the amazingly detailed sculptures and fine as anything you’d see in an art gallery.

The truth is, many wood carvings do end up in galleries or on display as treasured artworks in homes or clubs.  Then there are the artists – sculptors with just a different kind of medium.

Can you see why we here at Velocity are excited about our new show Saw Dogs? It’s a mix of everything we love the most – talent, action and that something a little bit different.  In this case an art form that has taken some fifty years to get the recognition is deserves.

Our master carver is Steve Blanchard – a chainsaw artist who has created incredibly detailed works over his storied career. In addition to his commissioned artworks, he is the creator of Itsyville… a whimsical miniature village complete with tree houses, elves and animals of every variety.  It is hard to imagine how he could get the detail so fine that you get lost in it.

Steve brings carvers from all walks of life, each with varying styles to his workshop in Canada to complete a weekly project.  The design direction is discussed and when Steve yells, “hit the pile” the carvers are turned loose to work their magic.  Steve evaluates the work along the way and in the end we’ll see which carver’s work will go to the client.

Sounds like a breeze? Don’t forget these are artists – each with their own vision and methods. Oh and they are using CHAINSAWS.

If you haven’t already discovered Saw Dogs I hope you’ll tune in this Saturday at 9:00p E/P.  The first assignment is to carve a bust of a Super Bowl punter – and for some it’s tough tackling the human form.  You’ll also see a gorgeous eagle destined for a golf course meet an inexperienced forklift driver.  Not a good combination.

We know you love the kind of artistry and out of the box thinking you get from the designers we showcase in the custom car industry.  This underground art form is filled with artists of a different kind just waiting for you to discover them.  And when everyone is talking about it at work you can dazzle them with your inside knowledge – after all you’ve been with us from the beginning.

Drop us a line and let us know what you think of Saw Dogs!

 


Visit daily for posts about the shows and spirit of Velocity, an upscale male lifestyle network, featuring the best of the automotive, sports, adventure and travel genres.

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