Did you always want to be a chainsaw carver?
No, not initially. My maternal grandfather was a whittler in his spare time, and he used hand tools instead of power tools to sculpt his creations. When I was a child he would try to help me start projects but I would lose patience and walk away before it was complete. As an adult, I found that power tools allowed me to get right to the design much more quickly than before.
What chainsaw do you recommend for carvers who are just starting out?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked! I recommend beginner carvers start off with STIHL MS 192. It's relatively easy to find and work with until you get your bearings with the medium. You'll also need to start with a 12” quarter tip carving bar, a quarter pitch chain, and of course - plenty of safety supplies!
Have you always been creative?
For as long as I can remember. I remember when I was little, my hands would “itch” like I just had to make something with them. I had no talent or direction, so I would create nonsensical projects such as tying everything in my room into knots. Today I think of those early projects as a form of performance.
How has your creative process changed over time?
More efficient, I've gotten more comfortable since 2011. One of the most important things I've learned in the past five years is how to repair my tools. Carving is hard on power tools, and a busted chainsaw used to mean the end of a workday (possibly a workweek). Now I know how to get myself back on track without assistance.
Do you have a creative routine or pattern?
I always like to start with imagery. I surf the web, especially Pinterest, until I see an image or quote or idea that clicks. Then I collect a library of resource images I can print out and use in the actual carving process. The end result never resembles these photos much: it's all about the transformation.
How do you develop your new ideas for your art?
For my YouTube channel, I often look to the comments and social media to see what kinds of sculptures people want to see. Otherwise I keep a running journal of ideas I like so whenever I have a spare moment (which isn't often these days) I can start working on a new project.
Do you have a favourite piece of work which you have created?
I'm always looking forward to the next piece.
Do you have a medium which you would like to try, but haven’t yet?
I'd like to keep working with wood, but I'd like to start creating more large-scale interactive public art pieces. I myself always want to touch sculptures I see outside, and I love the idea of my work incorporating the concept of play.
In years to come, how would you like yourself and your art to be remembered?
It would be nice to someday work with a material that will outlast me, like metal or stone. Otherwise I'd like to share some of what I've learned with the next generation of carvers, who would hopefully remember me during their careers!
Do you have a question you'd like Griffon to answer? Drop us a line!