Chainsaw sculptor's sharp imagination pays dividends
SOME artists create their work with paint, clay or charcoal. Very few use loud, dangerous chainsaws.
But Gympie artist Keith Gall has proven his unusual artwork is as impressive as any oil painting.
The chainsaw sculptor drew a large crowd in Maidenwell at the town's Post Rip Challenge at the weekend.
Mr Gall intrigued onlookers as he created an impressive boxing kangaroo sculpture from a tree stump, using nothing more than his faithful chainsaw and vivid imagination.
He has been sharpening his chainsaw sculpting skills for 20 years, but said a piece created on his first attempt at the art form was the one he was most fond of.
"My first naive attempt worked out very well,” he said.
"It amazes me to this day.”
After travelling to the United States to learn the finer skills of chainsaw sculpting, Mr Gall returned home to a silky oak stump which had been gifted to him by a friend.
From that stump, he carved 20 different native Australian animals.
The piece, aptly titled Australiana was so impressive it gained national attention.
"It was at the Sydney Olympics and has been on display at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo,” he said.
"It is now at the Woodworks Museum in Gympie.”
Mr Gall said mastering the art of chainsaw sculpting came down to few simple steps.
"Safety is number one,” he said.
"Visualise what you have to produce.
"I think imagination and the ability to visualise something that is not there is important.”
The artist is proud to say he has never suffered a significant injury from doing the work he loved.
"When I went to Maidenwell on the weekend my arm was in a sling, but that was only because I had been using it too long and it affected my wrist,” he said.
Mr Gall said his next big project was creating a bronze copy of his Australiana piece.
South Burnett Regional councillor and one of the event organisers, Gavin Jones, said the Maidenwell event raised in the vicinity of $25,000.
While the majority of the funds went to the great work of LifeFlight, the remaining money will be used for the beautification of Maidenwell.
"We have just finished painting the public toilets and Aboriginal artwork in the centre of town,” Cr Jones said.
"We are looking to do a big footpath between the shops and pub with a history walk of Maidenwell and the connection to the Wakka Wakka people.”