Artist sculpting tree in Oaks by the Bay Park

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ST. ANDREWS, Fla. (WMBB) — Oaks by the Bay Park is getting a new art installation, but it’s not the traditional sculpture you may think of.

Chainsaw artist Chad Gainey is working this week on sculpting a tree that is 31 feet tall. He was approached by the City of Panama City for the project.

The tree before carving started. (Photo Courtesy Panama City Quality of Life Facebook)

Gainey is carving a nautical-themed piece and has already made the tree branches on top octopus tentacles.

“If we wanted to keep that uniqueness of the tree and those limbs coming out, we had to come up with a design that would incorporate those limbs and kinda keep the height and the size of the tree,” Gainey said. “The natural form of the tree is part of the art itself and anytime you can leave and incorporate stuff like that in, it kinda adds another dimension.”

Wednesday morning, News 13 visited Gainey before he began airbrushing the tentacles.

The tree was damaged during Hurricane Michael, and Gainey says most trees in parks aren’t able to be used for timbers.

“It gives something to be able to transform what would be deemed for the dump or chipping it up or what not kind of a second life,” Gainey said.

Marilee Jorgenson visited the park today with her brother and was happy to watch Gainey carve.

“I was so excited to see someone turning a dead tree and turning it into a sculpture. I absolutely love it,” Jorgenson said. “I can tell that it’s going to be something with an octopus.”

Gainey will be carving Friday and Saturday, and anyone is welcome at Oaks by the Bay Park to see him in action. He is expected to finish Monday or Tuesday.

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