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Nicoli's Art Stumps Passersby

As Jon Nicoli turned off his chainsaw for the last time, he stood back to admire his completed work. “This was my first ever attempt at anything of this magnitude,” this connoisseur of new age art stated.

Jon Nicoli creates art using his chainsaw.

“I always had the need to use power tools and machinery and make things that were larger than life.” Seeing that old stump before the Alumni building brought out a feeling of need in the arborculture fan. Upon reflection Jon felt, “I have always been into art since I was a child but it has been a few years since I have done anything substantial. After taking an art class last semester I made an unconscious decision to follow that road again.”

Newly inspired Jon, student supervisor of the arboriculture department, went in search of an appropriately challenging project, only to discover chainsaw sculpture, “I think this type of sculpture is no different than any other as far as just seeing the piece within the medium and chipping away until your visual eyes and your mind’s eye come into focus and see the same thing.” Stationed near the front entrance of the Alumni building, Jon’s piece is both innovative and creative; taking in aspects of conservation and arborculture.

When first considering the piece, Jon was aware of the danger of this form of art, yet eager to begin, “I think the biggest challenge… is the fact that you can’t go back and fix most mistakes, it’s a very precise art.” Yet, in utilizing the relatively new technique of chain saw sculpting, precaution was always in the forefront of Jon’s mind, “the danger factor is pretty high when it comes to using a chainsaw in such close proximity to the body,” steadiness and alertness are the best safeguards. Inspired by life and modernization, “‘Wilted’, is a wilted daisy dropping over a rock on one side and a bench on the other.”

Soothed by the hum of the chainsaw as it drowns out the world, Jon takes comfort in the flying wood chips and saw dust, “the act of carving and creation is a soothing one that I don’t find in any other aspect of my life.” Jon has high hopes that the students will get as much satisfaction out of the aesthetics of the sculpture as he has received through its creation. Jon hopes to further “brighten up” our campus with many more sculptures yet to come.

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