Creative carvings

Words by:
Kate Chapman
Featured in:
January 2024

Kate Chapman meets chainsaw sculpture artist Christian Andreolli, whose natural wood creations and artwork are much in demand both at home and abroad.

A lifelong passion for creativity has taken artist and designer Christian Andreolli all over the world and since settling in Lincolnshire he has discovered an exciting new talent for chainsaw sculpture.

Inspired by the natural world around him and a desire not to see anything go to waste, Christian – who previously designed boutique hotels and villas and prior to that ran his own chain of restaurants in his native Austria – has made a number of giant, eye-catching pieces for companies and private commissions here and overseas.

His first piece was ‘Rooted Love’, an eight-metre-high couple carved from a 250-year-old beech tree, which the owner was advised to remove due to fungi. Others include a giant hand, made for a Lincoln company from the remains of a large ash tree felled in a storm (which was so big he could sit in the palm of it himself), and a bear measuring four metres and weighing three tons, carved from a sycamore tree, which was a commission from Austria.

Christian has also made a number of bespoke pieces for the Woodside Wildlife Park in Lincoln, and several more for the Adam and Eve pub in his home village of Wragby.

He explains: “I’d never done chainsaw sculpture, but I had made sculptures in other materials – I’ve worked in plaster and in clay. It doesn’t matter, you know how it feels when you shape it, and it’s just that now I work with machinery!

“I love a challenge – I’ve never said no to anything. Although there was one piece I was making, out of an 11m long oak, which had a diameter of 1.80m. I was struggling to cut the wood as it was so hard. I thought, I cannot work with this – so I just had to buy a bigger chainsaw! You just have to work around the surprises.

“If something’s never been made before, I have to give it a go. As a result I’ve made so many different things. But size is no object – if you can make something two metres high, you can make it four metres!”

Chainsaw collection
Christian invested in his collection of chainsaws – he now has six of varying sizes – after moving to Lincolnshire in 2019 and getting to know farmers and others in the local rural area.

“There are lots of trees – sometimes they come down in the wind, others the council says have got to be removed because they are overhanging the road, while others are covered in fungi, which can be a sign of certain diseases,” he says.

“I’ve done sculpture before, so this seemed like something I’d like to try. It also means the wood doesn’t go to waste – even the hollow ones can be turned into benches or something beautiful.

“I work on a farm and use scaffolding and a forklift to help lift and roll the pieces. It’s not work you can do by hand due to their size!

“‘The first one I made was ‘Rooted Love’ and the couple it was for wanted a reminder of the tree, which had stood for 250 years. It’s on the corner of Wragby Road, where you can see the cathedral and it’s become part of the tourist trail itself!”

Creature creations
Christian’s other commissions include a pair of 250cm high Peter Rabbit and Squirrel Nutkin figures carved from oak, which have gone to an area in the Lake District, where their stories originated. He’s also made four identical horse heads, a giant cat and a peacock and owl among many others.

He’s also created a large, four-metre high bull, carved out of English oak and weighing in at 2,800kg. It is available to buy after the company that commissioned it decided on a different piece and Christian says it would be the ideal addition to a business such as a beef farm, restaurant or butcher.

Christian says he has enjoyed a varied career, but has always been drawn to creative roles. He was passionate about art and drawing as a youngster and believes many of his artistic talents were inherited from his father, who comes from northern Italy, an area renowned for its talented wood carvers.

“As a youngster I was always sketching and by the age of 10 was practising all the time,” he recalls. “I cannot say whether it’s a gift or something I learned along the way, although I am completely self-taught.”

Varied career
Christian’s mother is Austrian, and after leaving school there he went on to train as a pâtissier in a bakery, becoming a master after three years. He explains that at the time he needed that level of qualification in order to run his own hospitality business, which culminated in him owning a chain of four restaurants in Graz.

“It was very stressful, they were open 24 hours a day – I was the only one doing food into the night.

Those working in the opera and at the discotheques were all coming after work for snacks,” he says. “But I was tired from it and that’s when I sold the business to my uncle and moved because my wife at the time was Swedish and homesick, so we went back there.”

Christian, who is knowledgeable and experienced in fine art and modern abstract painting, undertook a range of projects encompassing traditional building, modern architectural and industrial design, landscape gardening and interior decor.

Over the years he built a string of private villas, boutique hotels, restaurants and discotheques all over the world, including Piazza della Musica, where he combined great food, architecture and service.

Christian says his earlier career as a trained chef, and then owning and running a chain of restaurants, gave him a clear insight into the requirements of the hospitality industry.

“I just did one project after another, I never had a webpage, it was all word of mouth.

“Then I was invited to Mauritius to design a B&B for a friend, which included two buildings in the garden. I designed the whole place and that’s where I fell in love with an English lady.”

The pair moved to England and that’s when Christian took up chainsaw sculpture. As well as the wooden art, Christian is also a keen painter and has recently been focussing on a series of pop art paintings – acrylic on canvas – featuring famous faces including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth II, Boris Johnson, Amy Winehouse and The Joker from Batman.

He has also recently published two beautifully illustrated children’s books, The Little Fairy Alice & The Soothergnomes, parts 1 and 2, which are available in both English and German.

Christian is available for chainsaw sculpture and art commissions with an online shop selling his pop art print canvases. For more information visit www.andreolli-christian.com or follow him on Instagram at @andreollichristian

Photographs: courtesy of Christian Andreolli



Never miss a copy!

Big savings when you take out a subscription.

March ISSUE OUT NOW!Out now and available in 450 good quality outlets throughout Lincolnshire, including Local Co-op village stores. LIKE and SHARE to spread the word!Packed full of features including:• Batemans Brewery - Celebrating 150 years• yellowbellykitchen - Spice up your life!• The Inkpot - Working with nature• Life visits Lincoln, Horncastle and Caistor• Downtown Spring 2024 (8-page guide)• Fashion - Spring/summer collections• My Lincolnshire Wedding - Inspiration for your big day• Dining Out - Tower Hotel No.THIRTY8• County People - Cycling UK LincolnshireAnd lots more.Download today at www.lincolnshirelife.co.uk/product/lincolnshire-life-march-2024-digital-copy/ ... See MoreSee Less