Texas Artist Turns Dead Tree into Aggie Art

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

The Doux Chene apartment complex in College Station has had to deal with its share of problems thanks to last year's drought.

"It killed off a lot of landscaping out here," said Glenn Wyant.

Wyant owns the complex and for over 40 years this oak tree has supplied A&M students with some relief from the heat while waiting for the bus.

But last year's scorching drought proved to be too much for the old oak tree.

"Sometime trees out here die, we cut them down and we move on. We plant new trees, crape myrtles, whatever. But this one particular tree, we hated to see it go," said Wyant.

That's when most trees meet a certain fate and get tossed in the fire, but Glenn decided to do something a little different.

"It would have been a whole lot cheaper and easier to just cut it down and turn it into fire wood but this particular tree had so much meaning to us as a property that we wanted to do something special with it," said Wyant.

Instead of using a chain saw to cut down the tree, tree sculptor James D. Phillips is bringing a little bit of Aggie lore out of it.

"I've just been having more fun then should be allowed," said Phillips of his profession.

For six years, the artist has been converting dead trees into works of art.

His works in Galveston after Hurricane Ike have become a tourist attraction.

And now you can see one right here in our own backyard with the completion of his masterpiece entitled, "Aggiewood."

"I actually was raised a T-sip but all my very best friends and in-laws are all Aggies to the core and they all piped in with their suggestions and ideas," said Phillips.

Standing tall in senior boots with Reveille standing guard, the tree morphs into an Aggie ring, topped with a tribute to the bonfire.

It's already drawing crowds and onlookers and as students wait for the bus, the new piece of art will serve its main purpose.

"Just to encourage them them to trudge on through, keep it up, and be reminded by that ring behind them that there is goal. There is a reason that they're sitting at that bus stop," said Wyant.

It's been said that "A tree does not move unless there is wind," well this tree is moving Aggies from all over while keeping its roots firmly in the ground.

For his masterpieces, James Phillips charges between $2000 and $10,000.

To get a up close look at the new Aggie sculpture at the Doux Chene apartments, it's located behind the complex on Valley View Drive.

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