Mal McEwen is a north Georgia chainsaw artist with family roots in the area dating back to 1746. He has always enjoyed working with his hands and creating works of beauty, including being a mechanic, machinist and trim carpenter.
Mal picked up a chainsaw for the first time in 2002 and has never looked back. What started as a hobby has transformed into a livelihood, with commissioned projects coming from as far away as California. Known as the MalHatter (for the colorful top hat he wears while performing), Mal has carved from Florida to Pennsylvania to Washington State and many points in between.
“Through my spirituality and my art, I notice and get inspired by small things. It inspires me to watch ants do their job. From the little things to the big things, everything has significance. My best advice is don’t take the big things as being huge and don’t take the small things as being small. Everything has a purpose and meaning.” ~Mal McEwen
Always willing to give back to his community, Mal demonstrates at multiple local libraries each summer with the hope of inspiring children to follow their dreams. He has been commissioned for carvings at a number of public and private schools and is always a big hit with the kids.
Mal says, “I’m inspired by nature and by kids. There’s nothing greater than working with a child or young person and watching something spark in their head. I tell them, ‘You don’t have to be an artist. You can be whatever you want to be in life — don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Try to be the very best that you can be.’”
In this world of mass production, Mal takes great pride in the fact that each piece is 100% American-made, individually carved, and is a one-of-a-kind work of art.
In May of 2009 Mal organized the first major carving competition in the Southeastern US. The Inaugural “Buzz in the Blue Ridge Chainsaw Carving Extravaganza” was a huge success — nine carvers showcased their talent and raised awareness of this up-and-coming art form. With the success of the “Buzz”, Mal has gone on to promote other carving events in the Southeast.
He says, “I’ve got the only job in the world that combines the speed and sound of motocross with the skill and accuracy of a brain surgeon. I’ve had no formal training at all, but I’ve worked with a bunch of talented chainsaw artists over the years. I learn from them and they learn from me.”
Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!