Lisa Occhipinti is an artist based in Portland who is giving the chainsaws decommissioned at ASRI a new and hopeful legacy for generations to come.
Today, art is Lisa’s full-time job, but she was an artist long before her work was displayed in exhibits and public spaces around the country. Her first “studio” was in New England – a playhouse in the backyard, a space that was hers and hers alone, a place where her crayons, pencils, and imagination came alive in the summertime. Her studio in Portland is also a sanctuary, where the only welcome distractions are music and the occasional podcast.
Lisa works alone, but her art is an offering to the world, a way to put ideas that are challenging or complex into universal terms. Every color, line, and shape communicates something and serves to connect people. Art is her way of giving goodness to those around her. Health In Harmony commissioned Lisa to create work using discarded chains from our Chainsaw Buyback program. Her chainsaw art pieces send a hopeful message – that harmful cycles can always be broken and brighter futures, sooner realized.
When Lisa received her first box of chains, she wasn’t sure where to begin. She sat with the materials and played with them until they fell into a gentle coil. Lisa often works with circles, but the shape felt especially organic this time. Coils frequently appear in nature – from the frond of a fern to the curl of a wave – and circles symbolize balance. Both are key elements of Health In Harmony’s work.
So she continued listening to her materials and finding balance. Rusted chains contained by delicate rice paper, open coils filled with eye-catching fabrics in an otherwise muted palette.
As her pieces evolved, so too, did their meaning. They became symbols of balance and hope for former loggers once trapped in a destructive cycle.
The chains used to turn in on themselves, in an inescapable loop. They now move gently within their own boundaries. They are no longer propelled by a motor. Instead, they are self-sufficient, much like the loggers who are on a new, more sustainable path.Lisa Occhipinti
Lisa’s art is an important reminder that the challenges we face have great momentum, but so does goodness. A single act of goodness can change the course of a life, a single life, the course of the planet – like the first logger to retire his chainsaw and inspire a hundred others to do the same.
The world is vast, but we are all connected. Our actions are connected, our future is shared. The very chains that passed through tree trunks in Gunung Palung National Park are embossed with the word “Oregon,” their place of origin.
Thanks to Lisa, these chains now have a new and hopeful legacy. Thanks to Health In Harmony, their former owners now have a bright and healthy future. Small acts of goodness can have tremendous impact. We invite you add your own goodness to the world by giving a legacy gift to Health In Harmony, today. Those who do will receive one of Lisa’s extraordinary and symbolic chainsaw pieces.