Meet the man who 'paints' with a chainsaw

By Pieter van Zyl
12 June 2016

"It’s as if the wood whispers to me where to saw," says the 44-year-old German artist . "It’s a process I can’t explain."

His creations are nothing short of masterpieces, the statues' details so intricate they look as though they've been filled in with a paintbrush.

Except Jürgen Lingl-Rebetez's brush of choice is a chainsaw.

He was born in 1971 in the Bavarian village of Bad Tölz and grew up in Dachau, notorious for the genocide of Jews in its concentration camp during World War II.

But Jürgen has carved out a new sort of fame for the town with his art. Collectors now cough up thousands of euros to take home his works of animals, angels and nude figures.

He’s been mad about drawing since he was a child and sketched or painted everything from animals to buildings, people and landscapes.

He graduated from the Josef Effner Grammar School at the age of 20 and held his first exhibition in a gallery in Dachau.

After two years of national service, he honed his skills as an apprentice to wooden sculpture master Hans-Joachim. In 1996 he moved to Switzerland and more recently to France. He married Françoise in 1997 and their daughter Marie was born a year later.

"Since then I’ve been creating art that comes to life to capture the imagination of my daughter and others. It’s a miracle to see the impact my works have on people.

"I respect the trees that have to be chopped down for my works. They die to give life to my vision."

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