fueled by

his chainsaw

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Chainsaw artist Bob King put it all on the line to carve out a future for his family.

Chainsaw artist Bob King put it all on the line to carve out a future for his family.

First, Bob King gears up. Heavy plastic safety glasses protect his eyes. Thick foam muffs that look like 1970s headphones cover the smaller plugs stuffed into his ears. He pulls on a pair of cut-resistant gloves made from Kevlar and other synthetic materials that guard his hands yet still provide the dexterity he needs to be deft with his blade. Next, he lifts a red canister, tilts its yellow nozzle and pours a little gas into the tank. The tank is affixed to a motor. The motor powers the blade. He flips a switch. Pulls out the choke. Primes the engine. Wraps two fingers around the starter cord. Lets it rip.

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You do what you have to do to survive. If you’re lucky, you find a way to do something you love. But it takes a leap of faith to go “all in” on yourself. It takes a certain brand of bravery. When Bob King was laid off from his corporate manufacturing job, the father of three decided to quite literally carve out a new future for himself and his family by transforming his creative hobby into a professional artistic pursuit. He had nothing to lose, and he never looked back. With no formal artistic education, King enrolled in some art courses at a community college outside of Seattle, Washington, where he lives. He had creative vision and was more than handy with a chainsaw. Sometimes power tools have the power to change your life.

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The way a chainsaw brings art out of a tree...

After 20 years as one of the world’s most celebrated and prolific professional chainsaw sculptors, King says being a professional chainsaw artist still doesn’t feel like work. He’s doing what he loves and, for that, he’s still grateful. King says he’s fueled by the artistry — and the sheer power — he wields with a gas-powered chainsaw. It’s a tool that has taken him across the globe as both an exhibitor and competitor.

“The way a gas-powered chainsaw sounds, the way it feels in my hands when it first touches the log, the way it brings art out of a tree — I just can’t put it down,” he says.

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