Artist To Perform At Whirlybird Festival
One Jamestown resident has mastered an art while focusing on work.
While he was originally an art student, Vincent Liuzzo went to work for a tree-cutting business. His original goal was simply to have part-time work when the majority of local performing arts organizations would slow down their activities in the year.
In 2013, Liuzzo and a business partner started a tree-cutting business. The two originally had been working for a business that had been in operation for a long time. Unfortunately, the prospect dried out before it even started for them.
“They ended up not being able to make it and got involved in some other things,” Liuzzo said. “We found ourselves in the trade and out of a job.”
After Liuzzo took various other jobs, he had become a certified arborist and was able to work with wood and cut down trees which included accessing trees so that they could be removed. The initial goal for Liuzzo and his partner was again to try and start a tree-cutting business. He also learned how to use a chainsaw and similar lumber-related power tools.
However, Liuzzo quickly realized there was one crucial piece of equipment that would be needed for his work.
“As we continued to study the industry (arborist), one of the things that we learned about the industry is that it is expensive to own a stump grinder,” Liuzzo said.
Liuzzo then realized that with his art background and his experience as an arborist, he could use the two of them together.
“I’m in an art background. I teach lessons at Infinity. I was involved in art and art promotion before I got into tree work,” Liuzzo said. “I actually got into treework because it was hard to find my niche as a starving artist.”
Liuzzo then found that he was very passionate about the art form. He credits part of his passion to being able to work with some of the tools of his craft already.
“I learned how to run a chainsaw because I was cutting trees every day and then somebody asked me if I could make a couple of chairs,” Liuzzo said. “I made a couple of chairs with the chainsaw and then I made a table, then a bird bath and then somebody asked if I could carve an angel.”
On Saturday, the artist will be at the Whirley Bird Festival in Jamestown.
Liuzzo was originally only making cuttings for clients on a residential basis. Now he makes cuttings from wood pieces of various types and sizes. He also has expanded to work with various nonprofit organizations and event organizers. He cited Pumpkintown in Busti, The Food Bank of Western New York, Infinity Performing Arts Center, The Randolph Arts and Crafts Fair and others as examples.
“I’ve gotten to work with a bunch of different organizations now. I’ve expanded from cutting down the stumps of trees to doing projects for individuals, companies and marketing purposes, birthday presents, etc.” Liuzzo said. “I’m proud to say that I use a lot of my gifts to give back to the community.”
Liuzzo has made a variety of statues with subjects ranging from pumpkins, animals, a weather vane to a chain. This past Halloween, he crafted a life-size Michael Myers from the “Halloween” horror franchise.
Depending on the requirements of the piece, the wood used is often cut to fit a theme of an event or function he is working with. Currently, the pieces he has created have been made of spruce and catalpa wood.
“I try to make things usually never seen,” Liuzzo said. “I stay away from trying to make bears and eagles (with chainsaws).”
When asked what tools he uses for his work, Liuzzo said he mainly uses a range of STIHL and Husqvarna chainsaws. His blades range in length from 12 to 36 inches. To achieve the look of shading on his works, Liuzzo will use various sizes of blow torches to fit the area he is working with.
Liuzzo is also developing a community center called the Sherwood Arts Complex. One of the venues that will be employed is Liuzzo’s chainsaw techniques. The complex will be located on Second Street in Jamestown and is designed to be a venue for performing arts events as well as a family-entertainment venue. While he couldn’t give a date, Liuzzo anticipates the opening of the center for sometime this summer.
When he is not making items out of wood, Liuzzo enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, being involved with Infinity Performing Arts Center, volunteering at St. James Church or restoring vintage arcade games.
Liuzzo can be found at Vince The Tree Guy on Facebook and on Flickr.
The festival will be today, Friday and Saturday. The festival will feature over 60 artists; celebrating local, regional and international performance talent across several venues indoors and out taking place in downtown Jamestown including Jamestown Brewing Company, Winter Garden Plaza, Shawbucks, Jamestown Wine Cellar, Labyrinth Press Company, Chadakoin Club, the Reg Lenna, and 3rd on 3rd Gallery.
The festival includes musical performances by Tropidelic, After Funk, LeSpecial, Funktional Flow, Witty Tarbox, Company Townes, Space Junk, Qwister, Cold Lazarus, Wanyama, Vibe Supply, The LEC, Bill Ward, Cindy & the Loves, Amanda Lynn’s Shenanigans, Smilo & the Ghost, Phantasm, Feverhawk, and Trip the Deuce. Whirlybird comedy program will be headlined by Steven Rogers. Rogers recently appeared on The Late Show with Steven Colbert and regularly opens for Brian Regan. Karate Sleepover will feature a regional comedy showcase and open for Rogers along with Jesse Winterhalter.
The festival features a free, all-age and family friendly Street Festival taking place on Third street between Main and City Hall as well as Winter Garden Plaza, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The street fest will feature four outdoor stages, 25 musical acts, the Jamestown Public Market Farmers Market, love painting, carving and crafting, arts and craft vendors, a beer garden, local food, kids activities, a hooping workshop and much more.
Whirlybird’s mission is to strengthen the thriving creative culture of Jamestown, through organization and inspiration. Along with spearheading a summer music program at YMCA Camp Onyahsa, Whirlybird is proudly partnering with local arts events; Third Thursday at Winter Garden Plaza, Karate Sleepover Open Mic, Wine Cellar Open Mic and Pulse Poetry Slam, and Jamestown Public Market. Whirlybird 2018 succeeded in raising and donating over one thousand dollars to local non-profit youth organizations.
Whirlybird 2019 is aiming to double that donation to raise funds for the Jamestown Skate Park Project & YMCA Camp Onyahsa music and scholarship programs.