Juha Käkelä

Ylöjärvi (1967)
ITE-Taiteilija Juha Käkelän henkilökuva

Chainsaw art

Juha Käkelä is a Finnish contemporary folk artist from Ylöjärvi. Käkelä is carving with a chainsaw since 1998. The self-taught artist says that carving started by suddenly. I was going to start making a smoke sauna, but the first log turned into a goose, followed by a bear, after that the carving take a place in my life.

Juha carved two artworks “Bigfoot” and “Green Man” to the Middle of Nowhere Art park. The huge pine trunk (more than 70 cm in diameter) used in the artworks was felled next to the cafe building.

Heck yeah "Käksä"

Juha Rikhard Käkelä, nicknamed “Käksä”, carves a piece with a chainsaw from one subject to another. The self-taught artist is a three-time Finnish champion of chainsaw carving and carved as an invited guest in the world’s largest and toughest competition in Siberia. Käkelä’s skillful handprint can also be seen in two luxury cruises in the Caribbean. The bars of the last two cruises of Carnival Mardi Gras are filled with dozens of Tiki god creations and totem poles carved by Juha.

An artist playing a chainsaw

When artist walks to the sculpture site, it’s like whole forest listening what is happening. Käkelä’s gestures are calm and you can see how he concentrates on starting the carving. He draws a picture in his mind, take a deep breath and start the chainsaw.

When the artist’s chainsaw starts it’s look like the rock star playing guitar on stage. It’s incredible to watch how the shape of the wood changes piece by piece. It looks like Juha is dancing around a tree! This is kind of true, because the band Ramstein is echoing in the artist’s hearing protection.

Juha Käkelä soittaa moottorisahaa

You can carve just about anything with a regular chainsaw. Wood is a tonal material, and it does not limit the artist's creativity. In carving the delicate details and small finishes of the works, Käkelä also has other tools suitable for working with wood.

ITE-taiteilija Juha Käkelä polttaa puuta kaasupolttimella

The subjects and inspiration of the sculptures

The subject of the sculptures is usually an animal figure, such as a bear. In addition to animal figures, only the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing subjects, and new inspiration can be found both at art exhibitions and on social media. Often the works are related to nature or have symbolism. The artist’s own favorite sculpture subjects are the horse and Indian figures drawn from childhood and Tex Willer cartoons.

The works of the exhibition


Bigfoot is a creature claimed to represent an unknown species. There have been alleged sightings of this approximately 2.5 meter hairy ape-like creature since the 1960s. It is said to live in North America in the Rocky Mountains. Of course, we don’t believe this because it’s quite clear that the creature in question can only be found in Finland in the middle of nowhere.

Chainsaw artist Juha Käkelä carved the Bigfoot piece from a huge pine trunk felled from the corner of Middle’s cafe building. The diameter of the base of the tree was over 70 cm, so the stump left on the spot could be used as a stand for the artwork.

The piece is made to withstand sitting, so everyone is welcome in this furry guy’s lap.

I wanted to create a work in the art park that would welcome people of all ages to get to know ITE art (Finnish contemporary folk art).

Green Man

The Green Man is a legendary creature that is considered one of the symbols of rebirth and has appeared in cultures of different eras. It has represented new spring growth and the cycle of nature. The Green Man is most commonly depicted in sculptures as a face made of leaves, vines, flowers, etc.

A large pine felled from the yard of the art park had a rare three-branched top. It was immediately clear to the artist Juha Käkelä that such a fine sculpture blank must be utilized as a large entity. Juha had once thought about implementing the topic in question. Now was the right opportunity and just the right kind of blank. The Green Man piece sculpted by Käkelä became a huge over three-meter sculpture with a long three-pronged beard and a gentle gaze.

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