The Life, and Art, of Marina Cole

Local Stories

Local chainsaw artist gives old trees new life.

On her way out of a Taekwondo class, Marina Cole noticed a wooden dragon sculpture that stole her attention for an hour. Fascinated and inspired by the art piece that was made in Japan and brought to Canada, Cole picked up her first chainsaw on April 9, 2016. 

She now has pieces across Medicine Hat and has participated in international competitions, where she’s carved for 10 to 12 hours a day in Alaska, Australia, Montana, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Alberta.

“I always wanted to be an artist. Growing up as a kid, I was trying to be an artist in ways that almost felt forced. When I picked up that chainsaw, nothing has ever felt so natural,” says Cole. “It’s such a euphoric feeling, and once I’m finished carving, it feels so unreal to think that the sculpture came from me. I truly have to tell myself that it has been created by me when I step away and look at it.”

It’s also the wood that fascinates Cole, how it can quickly be transformed into an object that tells a story and brings emotion. She also enjoys being outside and connecting to nature when she’s creating. Her inspiration grows when she’s surrounded by artists who share the same passion as her at competitions, and from those she creates artwork for. 

Recently, during a competition that showcased over 20 artists, Cole was one of three women that attended, and she placed fourth in the whole event.

“My biggest advice to anyone would be to do what your heart desires. I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t picked up that chainsaw.”

Explore the artwork with our Marina Cole Chainsaw Sculptures Tour.

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