HANCOCK – Sixty-seven years ago, a Maine logger used his chainsaw to create a piece of art. That turned into a lifetime of performances.
Folks have about one month to catch world-renown chainsaw artist Ray Murphy’s nightly show in Hancock before he retires.
The “Chainsaw Sawyer Artist Live Show” is coming to an end. Murphy started creating art as a 20-something logger. His first pieces were signs.
“I went from the inscription type work to two-dimensional, which is like the wall plaques on the wall here where there is two dimensions that you can see,” Murphy said, sitting in his shop. “And then in 1953, I went to three-dimensional work, and also I went into performance chainsaw art.
“The other loggers I was working with, they were my audience.”
“I have worked at museums around the world, and the majority of these museums are with ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not,”” he said.
The chainsaw shows began in the 1980s, but a heart attack in 2016 forced Murphy to take a break. He says that’s why the nightly shows are ending. They run about 90 minutes and are attended by onlookers from around the globe.
“You won’t be sleeping,” he said with sawdust stuck to his skin and clothing. “And little kids love it. They just love the little things coming out of there.”
Inside his shop, is a ladybug he created that is less than an inch long.
“He called me the guru of stunt entertainment chainsaw art,” Murphy said of one writer who covered his story in the past. “I told him, I says, ‘It’s not stunts. I don’t do stunts.’ I says, ‘That’s pure talent over there.’”
Murphy’s shop will remain open after the shows come to an end early next month. When he first opened it, there were large pieces of sawyer art — totem poles, bears, fishermen in yellow – that lined the roadway.
“There is a possibility that I will line this front again with the big boys,” the chainsaw sawyer artist said.
The nightly chainsaw shows begin at 7 p.m. and will run through Sept 8th.