Jari Kuokkanen

Iisalmi (1968)

Jari Kuokkanen from Iisalmi is a carpenter by trade and knows how to turn timber into all kinds of figures.  

He combined the drawing hobby of his youth with his chainsaw handling skills, gained while working on logging sites, when he made his first bear and capercaillie sculptures in 1994. Kuokkanen became interested in chainsaw sculptures when he saw Orvokki Karppinen’s wooden sculptures, which he remembers admiring as a schoolboy.  

Kuokkanen says that he started sculpting in earnest in 2012. His preferred tool is the chainsaw, but as his woodworking skills and desire to express himself have grown, the range of different sculpting tools and equipment he uses has also expanded. His work is characterised by the use of colours and painted details, and he mixes colours for skin tones to ensure that the result is exactly what he wants, for example.  

Kuokkanen lives in an area with lots of forests, and he usually finds his subjects from the forest environment and traditional animals, though there have also been other sources of inspiration: he has carved lifelike statues of rock legends such as Lemmy Kilmister and Juice Leskinen, which is very fitting for a huge rock music fan. His commissioned works include a bulldozer and a Saab 900. Kuokkanen has a lot of subjects and plans ready for when he has more time. He has not restricted his sculpting material to wood but has also tried to tame stone.  

Kuokkanen actively takes part in various chainsaw sculpture competitions. His sculptures have been exhibited at art exhibitions and trade fairs, and he also takes sculptural art commissions.

Text and photos: Mari Kekäläinen Translation: Kirsti Nurmela-Knox

ITE Art surveys / Northern Savonia 2020–2022