Home Featured News Chainsaw art carves out town’s identity

Chainsaw art carves out town’s identity

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• INSTALLATION: Workers install one of the hand crafted Chainsaw Art pieces by artist John Brady at Rupanyup. Rupanyup Major Events in conjunction Yarriambiack Shire Council have installed the artwork around the town.

Rupanyup received their first installation of the “Chainsaw Art Trail”, featuring two eagle sculptures and a Goanna.
The Silo Art Trail in the Wimmera region inspired community member Carmel Healy to pitch the idea to Rupanyup Major Event’s (RME).
The art of Russian Julia Volchkova is featured in Rupanyup as a part of the Silo Art Trail, displaying two members of the town’s football and netball club.
Mrs Healy said the “Chainsaw Art Trail” project in Rupanyup, featuring John Brady’s wood sculptures is about bringing interest into the small community.
“This is just something I’ve always admired, the skill of the chainsaw artist, and the Silo Art Trail gave me inspiration to get more art in Rupanyup, some art pieces is always a lovely touch,”Mrs Healy Said.
The Yarriambiack Shire Council and Rupanyup Major Events helped finance the project getting it off the ground.
RME hosts the Barley Banquet, a sponsored event in the community which in recent years has drawn crowds as big as 400 people.
The premise behind the sponsored event is to donate the proceeds back into the community.
Mrs Healy said at this stage there are three sculptures in town and she has ideas for more sculptures which reflect the identity of the community.
“These are the first pieces that we have received from John, this feature was the animal section and now that’s done we’re asking Mr Brady, when we get sufficient funding, to do more sculptures reflecting the town of Rupanyup,” she said.
Mrs Healy said she has a few ideas of what to bring to the trail next including a sculpture of an old farmer and his dog.
“The first one we would like him to complete is a retired farmer sitting on a seat with his dog and the next one will be what you would consider to be a Rupanyup woman, the dignified backbone of the community,” she said.
“Finally we want him to sculpt two children walking hand-in-hand from kindy to the primary school, just because they’re our future.
“This is to represent the importance of education.”
Mrs Healy is reaching out to her community to help fund the rest of the project, she is hoping to add the other three pieces in time for the 150th anniversary of Rupanyup in March next year.
Gippsland chainsaw artist John Brady, the person behind the detailed wooden sculptures, has been making sculptures for 37 years.
One of Mr Brady’s most recognisable pieces is a sculpture of jockey Hugh Bowman riding the racehorse Winx.
Mr Brady said his passion started out as a backyard hobby, where he would make sculptures for friends.
“I’ve been doing it for about 37 years, it was a hobby that I used to do on wet days and I starting doing things like dogs heads for presents for people, and then I started getting orders to do more of them,” Mr Brady said.
Mr Brady said using a chainsaw as a carving tool allows him to get into finer detail.
“It’s a really good tool to use, you can get into finer places,” he said.
“I start off with a bigger bar and then move down to a smaller one to get down to a point like a 10c piece.
“You can do most of the feather work with the saw, there’s some parts like the eyes you use other tools like a small die grinder.”
The whole process of creating a sculpture takes Mr Brady a couple of weeks, where he sources a log, carves and details the wood and finishes it with four coats of marine grade varnish.
President of RME Tessa Healy said projects like this one is what keeps interest in smaller towns.
“The general premise of this is supporting the people who are having a go to keep the town valid in times when small towns are getting smaller,” Ms Healy said.
“The streetscape was made with a practical view not an artistic view so this is a great step to incorporate art wherever possible to make visitors acknowledge the town.
“The walk is supposed to capture the eye with the silo art and then move onto the soaring eagle.
“As you walk down the strip, it’s designed to draw your eye to the individual works as you make your way through the town and I think it just makes the walk more engaging displaying some beautiful craftsmanship that you may not see elsewhere.”