A local chainsaw artist is catching people’s eye

Medford, Ore.- A local chainsaw artist just finished a new piece in a Medford neighborhood.

If you’ve driven by the tall wooden carving in East Medford on Modoc Street you probably wondered what one earth it was. The carving, a totem pole, started out as an 18-foot-tall dead oak tree.

The totem pole was done by local wood carver and chainsaw artist Gary Spallino.

Spallino started carving and doing chainsaw art two years ago after seeing if he could craft a better carved wooden bear than a close friend of his did.

He’s an entirely self taught artist and his only experience with wood comes from having been a logger for 18 years prior to starting his chainsaw art.

“The first thing I made was pretty rough. I think it turned into firewood,” Gary Spallino says with a laugh.

Now, Spallino’s skill level has improved and in turn created a full blown family business.

His fiance Lucy Meiss says, “I actually recently quit my job and I kind of go around and just be his fan club and support him, make him sandwiches, hand him tools.”

His piece on North Modoc Road was commissioned by an East Medford resident named Lynne who had a dead oak tree on the front of her property. She was looking to do something with it.

When thinking back on the process that created the design of the totem pole Spallino says, “We were going to do a totem of wild life heads and one night I just decided, ‘Oh I need to talk to Lynne and see if we can put a soaring eagle and an owl in there because it’ll look good.”

Lynne approved of the idea, with one request in mind. A leprechaun. The leprechaun honors a personal joke Lynne had with her husband who passed away five years ago.

It took Gary Spallino only four days to carve the nearly 15-foot-tall totem pole using four different types saws.

He says that chainsaw art is his passion. And now his passion has led his family to a new close friend.

“We made a lifelong friend with Lynne,” Spallino’s fiance Lucy Meiss says.

Gary Spallino says he plans to make a spartan soldier as his next project. But the most important will be the piece he’s likely going to be crafting for his upcoming wedding to Lucy.

If you’re interested in Gary’s work search ‘Spallino Chainsaw Art’ on Facebook.

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