The Chicago Tree Project (CTP) is a collaborative initiative between the Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture International. The CTP is an annual citywide effort to transform sick and dying trees into vibrant public art rather than cutting them down. Using art as a vessel for public engagement, sculptors transform trees into fun and whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community. Each year, twelve new trees are installed throughout the city. A complete map and more information can be found at www.chicagotreeproject.org
Artist's Statement: Fraxinus Raptor was inspired by a bird/reptile toe. I wanted to transform my tree into something that looked completely different from its original state, causing my audience to see the whole tree as a form of art rather than a tree. Movement and bold color as well as humor were important qualities sought while working on my tree. Because the natural form was very rigid and straight plus very wide, achieving these qualities proved to be a challenge.
I found my most valuable tools to be: the oscillating multi-tool for debarking the entire tree; the chain saw, because of the amount of wood that could be removed at one time; and the steel shaping disc, that was useful as a sanding tool, removing fine layers quickly and smoothly.
I greatly enjoyed working on the tree project. It posed a great challenge in that I was forced to work in a completely different way than I’m used to. I worked with new materials and learned new skills. The support from the community was amazing. I loved coming to work in such a lovely place.