Back in 1997, “The Machine” Jesse Green saw some logs on the side of the road, bought his first chainsaw and never looked back.
It was “love at first cut,” he said. Now, Boston’s sports teams are reaching out to Green to tell him how much they love his work. The Red Sox even told him they are “big fans.”
We spoke with “The Machine” about his beginnings, his work and his love of Beantown rings.
How did you decide to sculpt wood?
I was a sculpture major in college. I went to U-Mass Dartmouth. Chainsaw sculpture was not a major, but I can tell you my classmates didn’t think too highly of my work. They called it “too commercial,” which I didn’t get. I always thought that we were all trying to make a living out of art. Some of them made their sculptures out of things like wax and hair.
What was your first sculpture?
A Tiki head. I think it’s the obligatory piece for a first-time wood sculptor.
How did you come up with the idea for the World Championship Tree?
The client commissioned the piece. His idea originally was just to do the four logos on the four stumps, but it was a tree that wouldn’t die. Everything wanted to grow back around it. So then I decided, ‘Well, let’s carve the whole thing and it won’t grow back and it will be great.’ The stump needed to be cut down. It was four stumps growing out of one and it just wasn’t safe anymore. … I started looking at it and looking at it and then it just screamed to me. Then somebody showed me the ESPN cover [of a fist showing off all four Boston rings] and I said, ‘There you go.’
How long did it take to carve?
Two weeks. There’s a lot of detail.
Was that the hardest part?
Each step had its own challenge. I wanted to get the shape of the fingers and the rings first. I knew if I could do that, I could do the detail dead last and get it exactly right.
Is this your first sports sculpture?
Oh, no. I’ve done work for teams, universities, the WWE. They’re not necessarily in the ground. Fifty percent of my sculptures come from my studio. It’s a fun business. It’s my dream. It’s been an honor though. It’s gone super viral, at least around here. I can’t even keep up with it.
What’s your best Boston championship moment?
I remember all of the moments from when we won the titles, especially after years of growing up around here. The Red Sox longtime curse was a well-known fact. When they first won again back in 2004: that was pretty awesome. I was living right down the street from Foxboro Stadium, which is now Gillette Stadium, when the Patriots won and that was unbelievable. They’ve all been like that.