Carving out a niche for himself, the artist uses chainsaw to create his masterpieces on TREES

Suzannah Hills

Last updated at 5:17 PM on 4th January 2012

A master craftsman has carved out a unique niche for himself turning trees into works of art using a heavy duty chainsaw.

Andy O’Neill, 40, spends days at a time creating each of his remarkable tree treats by carving the sculptures from felled logs.

Once completed, each piece of his art can fetch anywhere between £300 to £5,000 a time.

Andy is currently working at the
National Pinetum in Bedgebury Forest, Kent – where he is carving seven
sculptures including an enormous adder, a roman shield and sword and
some other intricate designs, all with his trusty chainsaw.

Tree treat: Artist Andy O'Neill with one of his completed tree carvings in Bedgebury Forest, Kent

Tree treat: Artist Andy O’Neill with one of his completed tree carvings in Bedgebury Forest, Kent

Wood carver Andy hails from Bristol but is currently living in a caravan in Bedgebury Forest, said: ‘I’ve been doing this for four years and it’s really something I love.

‘As a schoolboy I wanted to do woodwork for O Level, but they didn’t have enough pupils to make up a class, so I did art instead.

‘I became a graphic designer and then a tree surgeon after leaving school, but wanted to carve myself a different path and combined my art with my love of forestry.

‘My tallest creation was a 25ft tall totem pole that I carved out of a condemned beech tree – that was a real labour of love.

Wood sculpturer Andy O'Neill with his trusty chainsaw that he uses to carve out his works of art

Wood sculpturer Andy O’Neill with his trusty chainsaw that he uses to carve out his works of art

Talent: Mr O'Neill's pieces fetch anywhere between £300 to £5,000 a time

Talent: Mr O’Neill’s pieces fetch anywhere between £300 to £5,000 a time

‘As an artist I am in my own bubble – I’ve created my own style as I go along.

‘Using a chainsaw instead of a paint brush puts me apart from most other artists straight away.’

In the New Year, visitors to Bedgebury’s National Pinetum will be able to see Andy’s chainsaw masterpieces at the free to enter forest.

The Pinetum is a recreational and
conservational arboretum and was established as the National Conifer
Collection in 1925 and is now recognised as the most complete collection
of conifers on one site anywhere in the world.

Chainsaw masterpieces: Wood carver Andy O'Neill hard at work carving out his latest creation in Bedgebury Forest, Kent

Chainsaw masterpieces: Wood carver Andy O’Neill hard at work carving out his latest creation in Bedgebury Forest, Kent

The collection has over 10,000 trees growing across 320 acres (1.3 km2), including rare, endangered and historically important specimens of pines, conifers and firs.

Bedgebury National Pinetum conducts conservation work and is home to some 56 vulnerable or critically endangered species along with Andy’s astonishing art work.

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts,
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The comments below have been moderated in advance.

What a disgusting spectacle to see this man carving up living trees. Trees feel pain and this horrendous butchery must sentence the tree to a lingering death and deprive Gods wonderful creatures a home and place to live and work. Makes me want to cry!

The work shown is truely beautiful. I wish Mr. O’Neill would do a book of his art for those of us who live far away and are unlikely to see the work in person.

Beautiful work, it looks so delicate yet done with a chainsaw.Would love love to see this close up.

very nice ,a pity the tree will die now.

Would love to learn how to do this and yes, I have my chainsaw licence!

Wonderful work, just don’t try searching for an Andy O’Neill UK website or you might get an unpleasant (or pleasant depending on your tastes) surprise!

Tommy Craggs of Castleside carved a 10′ tall Crusader knight in my garden a couple of years ago out of a condemned sycamore tree. It’s brilliant.

I was ready to let rip on the assumption he was doing this to live trees but as they are already felled fair play to you sir, that’s a talent!

I saw some dead trees that had been carved into amazing (and cute) bear sculptures in a South London wood last week. I wonder if he did them?

There are a few doing this, not seen any as creative as this. I like the Green man on the Beech tree. Good if that could be done on a living tree to see how it grows out!…….And NO it would not kill a living tree as long as it does not ring bark it. I shall look out for a pointy tip to my chainsaw!

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