Red Dirt Diaries: Choctaw Chainsaw Artists In Spotlight In OKC
CHOCTAW, Oklahoma - The work of two local artists has been best appreciated in people's backyards or porches, until now.
Tom and Wendy Zimmer got into chainsaw carving in New York.
Tom was a logger and left his job to become a chainsaw artist. “I used to carve 100 little bears and 100 little eagles,” he said, admitting the repetition was getting to him physically and mentally.
So, 13 years ago, the couple moved to Oklahoma.
“I wanted another career,” said Tom.
But while in Oklahoma, people heard about some of his work and asked the couple for custom creations.
“People were finding us and saying, ‘you guys could do this for a living,’” said Wendy.
Soon, the couple rediscovered their passion for chainsaw sculpting and started creating artwork fulltime.
“Sometimes they turn out magical, and something else takes control and the piece just comes out,” said Tom.
Wendy works with the stains and paints on the projects.
“A lot of people memorialize their pet, or honor someone in their family, or honor something that means something to them,” said Wendy.
The Choctaw couple hopes their “Fairy’s Tree House” will mean a lot to an entire community. The piece was commissioned by Oklahoma City as part of its one percent for public art project.
That’s how much of a project’s budget gets dedicated to public art.
Fairy’s Tree House now sits sanded, stained and sealed at Dennison Park at Drexel and Northwest 27th Street in OKC.
“I just want them to have imagination and enjoy it. I think it will be a neat piece for the kids,” said Tom.