Mark’s father is a pro chainsaw carver and was one of the pioneers in the trade. “I grew up with chainsaw carving,” says Mark. “And I still learn a lot from my Dad.” His father, Don Colp, has been a professional carver since 1969. Mark grew up with it and started working with his dad right out of high school. Mark learned how to carve when traveling with his dad, watching him carve western art.
Mark often jokes that he has never filled out a job application. Mark has been carving since 1981. He likes to use redwood when carving because it’s soft and has beautiful colors, plus it’s really big. He carves about 20 to 40 hours per week. He has a shop, so he carves pieces to have in inventory for sale and he also does carvings for commission.
What he enjoys the most about carving is traveling, making people smile, and the money is not all bad either. He says his most challenging carving was a 10’ wine bottle that he carved for a local winery. The oddest carving was a Hobbit character he carved at a Hobbit park in California. The best work he feels he has done was of three dolphins that he did in Westport, Washington in 2005. The carving event was a nautical theme and his carving had three dolphins jumping out of the water and underneath a tiki coming out of the sand.
Mark is inspired by nature and likes to carve animals, trees, wildlife. When asked what would he would recommend to someone interested in becoming a chainsaw carver, Mark responded, “Carve, carve, carve. To improve, watch other carvers, particularly at competitions.”
When he’s not carving he enjoys fishing, hunting and spending time with his family.
Hometown: Lakeport, CA