By MICHELLE SLATER
A DROUIN woodworker has just been named the top chainsaw artist in the world against nine other competitors from across the globe, in an international competition in the US last month..
Chainsaw artist Brandon Kroon was given the top honour at the invite-only US Open Chainsaw Carving Championships in Wisconsin, with his intricate work of two unique Aussie animals.
The professional sculptor was also given an added accolade of taking out the Carvers’ Choice award bestowed upon him by his fellow competitors.
Artists were given three-and-a-half days to complete their work made out of a log randomly drawn from a raffle, in which Mr Kroon scored a piece of American white pine.
“I came up with a plan for a sculpture that had to be spectacular, it had to have that ‘wow factor’. For competitions, you have to get 100 per cent to get a good result,” Mr Kroon said.
“The competition had a wildlife theme so I came up with a saltwater crocodile in the unique shape of an almost perfect circle splashing the water and hitting a barramundi.”
Mr Kroon had come fourth in the competition in 2017 and tried to take part in it in 2019 but was taken to hospital with a sudden bout of appendicitis.
He has a stash of awards and plaques for his work, but this was the first time he had won internationally.
The former mechanic began working professionally as a chainsaw artist eight years ago, melding his love of small engines with creativity.
He said he decided to have a crack at the medium after watching other chainsaw artists at country ag shows as a kid and “fell in love with it straight away”.
He now has work stationed all over Melbourne parks and playgrounds, as well as a lizard and a wombat at Baromi Park in Mirboo North, and nine works along the Tooradin foreshore.
Mr Kroon said there were unique challenges in every piece of timber, with some hiding nails or decay or some natural features that he had to work around.
“I’ve always been passionate about working with my hands, fixing and creating things. It comes down to good equipment, always running it sharp and well maintained,” he said.
“In Victoria we have such a good range of hardwood and softwood. In America it’s more limited over there, but I’m blessed to work with a range of timber here.”