Mother Nature Network
Artist gives new life to Sandy’s fallen trees
Feb. 8, 2013
Although most of the media has left Superstorm Sandy behind in pursuit of fresh drama, many victims of that tempestuous event remain — not the least of which are the trees … members of the urban forest, the unsung heroes of the city. By some estimates, 19,000 trees were felled or damaged by the storm. Both young trees with shallow roots systems and mature trees with large canopies, which acted like sails, succumbed to the storm’s mischief.
Given that there are somewhere around 2.5 million trees on public land in New York City, the storm’s toll might seem insignificant. But parks officials say the large trees that died will take decades to replace, and the natural landscape of the city is forever changed.
But for one urban tree-lover, Topher DésPrés, the arboreal misfortune offered an opportunity. When life gives you fallen trees, make tree bowls.
DésPrés is the director of Wilhelmina Models fitness division by day, but moonlights as an artist. His medium is wood, and most recently, wood from the city’s toppled forest. What a poetic and poignant employment of the re-use principal; giving new life to the fallen trees, some of which have been standing watch over the city since the Civil War, while at the same time eliminating the need for new materials.
“I’ve always felt like there’s a lot of waste around us, the things we throw away and wasted opportunities. As a wood worker in New York City, there really isn’t much in the way of wood supply for my craft, but I noticed trees that have fallen being chipped into mulch or thrown away and I thought why not use those?” said DésPrés.