Andrea Gandini Crafts Dead Trees into Lifelike Sculptures
The Eternal City of Rome is brimmed with incredible artworks of great artists like Michelangelo, Bernini and many others. Hence, there is no lack of inspiration for emerging young artists in the city. Take this young Roman artist for instance. While youngsters of his age are out partying and having fun, 22-year-old Andrea Gandini has been transforming dead tree stumps on Roman streets into beautiful sculptures.
In the past four years, Andrea has made 66 such sculptures in the Italian capital as part of his “Troncomorto” (dead trunk) project and documented the creations on his Instagram account. He often gives his sculptures a humanistic touch – like a face or a bust, to elicit empathy from the passersby for the fallen tree stumps.
Andrea has been sculpting wood since he was a kid. At the age of 19, he ran out of sculpting clay so he carved a wood stump outside on the street, which turned out to be a lovely piece of art. Since then, he made it his mission to give a new life and meaning to these otherwise considered, useless dead tree stumps.
However, he doesn’t work on just any tree stump; if the wood is too soft, that means it is rotten and unsuitable for carving. After choosing the right material, i.e. a good tree trunk, Andrea gets to work with his chisel, chipping and carving into the lifeless timber. The carving process can take anything from a few days to a maximum of 2 weeks to complete.
His creations have been attracting many locals as well as tourists. Although, his work has been appreciated by almost everyone who comes across these lovely sculptures, the Roman officials don’t seem to be enjoying Andrea’s artworks.
Recently, he was stopped from working on a stump outside the Colosseum by the police, citing a new law about illegal street trading outside tourist sights. The police also threatened to ban him from the area for a year if he was caught there again. But the artist is determined. He says that dead trees are no one’s property and it’s his moral obligation to return a certain dignity to these ‘leftovers’ in honor of what was once a tree.
He has restored 66 stumps in the capital till now. His official website provides a map of the locations of the sculptures. Tour guides in Rome have started to include Andrea’s sculptures on their street art tours which is great.