Classical Chainsaw Art in Reedsport – David

A new figure in downtown Reedsport is already turning heads and stirring up controversey.


I saw this statue being carved on the first day and was completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task which artist Doc Nelson had taken on.

This is a copy of DAVID – Michelangelo’s masterpiece of the Biblical shepherd, king, and prophet! Doc, a relatively new chainsaw carver, had decided to reproduce a masterpiece of the Renaissance – WITH A CHAINSAW IN THREE DAYS!!!!!!

There were many great carvings this year, but for me – none of them approached DAVID. Think about it for a second….classical art in Reedsport done in a style we are noted for, chainsaw.

For me, there was no better piece to represent our sleepy little town and so I bought it. Even though Doc did not complete his Herculean task – the end product is a thing of beauty, a testament to the art of chainsaw carving and what can be done with it. There was no chance that I was going to let it escape.

I bought it and I single-handedly moved it from Rainbow Plaza to the sidewalk in front of our new shop. In the 24 hours DAVID has been there – nearly 300 cars driving past have either slowed down or stopped as they went past. Dozens have stopped their cars, gotten out, and walked over to examine DAVID in person. I am not alone in my appreciation of this unfinished but still magnificent chainsaw masterpiece.

But, already, there are those who are calling for DAVID to be removed. I’m not sure if they don’t recognize him or if they are offended by the nudity of the form but they are complaining to the city and it seems likely that the city will ask me to remove DAVID under the guise of ordinance or a mistaken notion of prurient intent.

I realize that not everyone has had the opportunity to travel to Italy and see the original, I realize too that perhaps people do not recognize this masterpiece or are unfamiliar with Michelangelo and his art – I offer the following as an aid for those who want to understand before making up their minds on whether DAVID should be allowed to grace our cities streets – or not.

David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by Michelangelo.

It is a 4.34-metre (14.2 ft), 5.17-metre (17.0 ft) with the base marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence.] Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was placed instead in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504.

Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome

For more on DAVID and MICHELANGELO click here.

6 comments on “Classical Chainsaw Art in Reedsport – David
  1. Oh, please do not break my heart! What a joy to see Reedsport incorporate such an endeavor as this into our sedentary landscape! Reedsport, please do not be offended by the body you yourselves possess. The representation of David is a gift of the mind for some, and a reminder of God’s grace for others. It also reminds me, that beneath the title of king, David was a human man, with flaws, but God loved him and forgave him. He was a man after God’s own heart. Please allow his presence, beautiful, imperfect, but with the potential to move the heart, even God’s.

  2. While I admire Doc’s bravely in attempting such a work, as well as your support of his efforts and your attempts to liven up Reedsport, Doc’s attempt didn’t come close enough to the beauty of the original “David” to allow me to recognize what was being attempted. So, your explanation was appreciated, not to mention needed. My comment does not mean, however, that I think it should be removed. You’re probably too young to remember what a fuss was made when the “flasher” sculpture was installed on a downtown Portland street. Oh my! Some folks just had a fit. I thought, as did many, the fuss made the sculpture all the more interesting! And it said to the public, “Portland has a sense of humor!” So a little controversy over “David” will, hopefully, make him all the more interesting and people will continue to stop and take a better look.
    One thing you might not have considered, though: as a senior with problems walking, I often grab hold of posts to help lift myself from the street onto the sidewalk. Your David, as it stands, might make it more difficult for some to open car doors and access the sidewalk from the street, unload trucks, etc. So I can see why placing it so near the curb might break a city ordinance. Would a city ordinance like that still apply if your “David” were to be placed closer to your actual building?
    Another idea regarding placement: I understand that color draws the eye in and that must be why there has been color added to the post next to “David.” However, if you consider your “David” to be a serious
    piece of art, the colors on the post add a rather gaudy feel you might not want. So, I’d suggest toning down the colors a bit, or removing them, if you plan to leave him on the curb. Maybe if you put him next to your building and lace a chair next to him, people would find it fun to sit next to him and get their photo taken.
    I hope you are not offended by my comments. I like that you have introduced “David” to Reedsport. Onward and forward!!

  3. Ya, like Reedsport is a puritan town-NOT. Too many goody 2 shoes wanting to cause a stink, just for their few seconds of fame and to watch a fellow citizen go down in flame…..

    • I certainly hope that no one brings flames into the equation…although we could do an amazing beach version of burning man…..

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