Clanton man creates art using a chainsaw

Published 4:10 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jimmie Martin has an area in his backyard where he devotes a large majority of his time creating new sculptures with pieces of scrap from old pine trees surrounding him as he works.

When Jimmie Martin creates his art, he doesn’t use a paintbrush, a sketchpad or paint– he uses a chainsaw.

Martin’s wooden carvings combine the modern technology of chainsaw art with woodcarving to create wooden statues of angels and an array of outdoor critters including bears, squirrels and eagles.

“I will sometimes look at a blank piece of wood and have no idea what I am going to carve,” Martin said. “After I spend a little bit more time shaping the wood I then decide what the sculptures will turn into.”

Martin has carved bears, squirrels, eagles and other animals.

Although Martin’s mother was artistic and he was surrounded by art at an early age, he didn’t start sculpting his chainsaw art until he was an adult and decided to give it a try after cutting down a tree and his son asked him to turn the tree into chainsaw art.

“I first made a bald eagle,” Martin said. “Then I made a bear holding some flowers and a few other things.”

Martin started routinely making chainsaw creations five years ago when his daughter Annie was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

“She loved anything dad did,” Martin said. “I realized I couldn’t fix her so I started doing carvings for her to make her smile.”

Martin’s daughter lost her battle with cancer almost a year after she was diagnosed, compelling Martin to create more sculptures as he dealt with the death of his daughter.

“It was almost a therapy tool to be out working on something while I could reflect on everything that happened with my daughter,” Martin said. “I was able to block out all of the noise with the noise of my chainsaw and that helped me a lot.”