Chainsaw Drawings with John Abduljaami: Woodcarving
In a West Oakland lot at 2205 Magnolia, just off West Grand, sculpture artist John Abduljaami lets the wood be his guide. He's there almost every day working from 9am to 5pm. Sometimes he sees a bird. Other times it's a dog, a cowboy on horseback, a rat or a walrus. "Then I start drawing with the chainsaw," Abduljaami tells Spark. A prolific artist who dreams of building a legacy through the wood sculptures he leaves behind, Abduljaami estimates he has produced 500 pieces thus far. If he had his druthers, he would produce a new piece each day. Along with a chainsaw, he uses such tools as an adze, a hammer and a chisel. He often turns to photographs and images of his subjects to guide him while he carves, cuts and shapes the wood before him. While some pieces are delicately rendered birds and jackalopes, others -- like his 2,600-pound walrus complete with wrinkly, cracked skin -- are much larger in scale. Carving the two-ton walrus meant starting with a 3,500-pound chunk of wood that had to be moved with a forklift.