Chainsaw artist and reality TV star Stacy Poitras has revealed the nail-biting moment he asked iconic movie hardman Clint Eastwood for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV, Poitras said the Dirty Harry star’s eyes narrowed and he gave his trademark tough-guy stare after he asked the screen legend if he could wed his daughter Alison.
‘He looks at me like this,’ said Poitras squinting his eyes menacingly. ‘You know, the Clint Eastwood look for about, I’d say five seconds. But those five seconds felt like five hours.’
Poitras said Eastwood then told him: ‘You’re gonna have to take that up with her,’ in his famous husky whisper, before the persistent artist shot back: ‘Is that a yes or a no?’
‘I was thinking, “I’m not f***ing putting up with that bull***t”,’ he added.
‘He said, “that’s a yes son”. And he shook my hand and I was like, man, that’s awesome, he just called me son. At least he didn’t call me a son of a b***h, he said yes.’
Poitras has spoken for the first time about the memorable moment at a Thanksgiving dinner in Pebble Beach, California almost ten years ago.
Chainsaw Gang star Stacy Poitras has opened up on his life as a sculptor to the stars as well as being married to Hollywood royalty, in an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV
The 52-year-old, who now runs a multi-million dollar business selling works of art he sculpted with a chainsaw, revealed the custom great horned owl (pictured) he made for his father-in-law – based on Eastwood’s love of the animal
Poitras, who married Alison Eastwood in 2013, told how his father-in-law gave him his trademark tough-guy stare when he asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage
He went on to marry stunning actress Alison Eastwood on March 16, 2013 and the pair remain happily married.
Poitras, 52, even sculpted a custom great horned owl for his father-in-law – based on Eastwood’s love of the animal which often soars over his home in Northern California.
Poitras – the one time star of reality show Chainsaw Gang – is now opening up about his extraordinary life as an artist and being married into Hollywood royalty.
Not only does he have to contend with his world famous father-in-law and well known actress wife, Poitras’ brother-in-law Scott Eastwood’s star is also blowing up right now.
But the humble chainsaw sculptor – who carves works of art from huge chunks of wood – has kept his feet firmly on the ground.
And speaking exclusively with DailyMailTV from his outdoor studio in Calabasas, California, the talented artist from Plymouth, Massachusetts reveals how he built a multi-million dollar business from selling sculptures on the side of the road for a few bucks to commanding up to $30,000 a piece today.
He is now world renowned in his field and travels America exhibiting his art.
Poitras is also the subject of a recent documentary called ‘The Chainsaw Artist’, in which he carves the seven deadly sins and exhibits the pieces at locations around LA chosen to reflect the sins.
The artist married into one of Hollywood’s most famous families but became a prominent figure in his own right after garnering a list of celebrity clientele. Above he is pictured with wife Alison, his father-in-law and brother-in-law Scott
His unusual craft is sought after with the likes of megastars Nicholas Cage, Sam Elliot, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman and jazz saxophonist Kenny G among the big name celebrities to have bought his work.
Stacy first discovered chainsaw carving when he was 17-years-old while studying at the prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, majoring in painting.
He was on his way to art school when he saw a man carving a wooden bear with a chainsaw by the side of the road.
Poitras recalls: ‘That’s not only the manliest thing that I’ve seen, but also the most sensitive thing. He was an artist, but he was a lumberjack. Put the two together. That’s pretty cool.’
The iconic movie hardman giving his trademark stare in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
He decided to give it a try and started selling pieces right off the bat.
But his first foray into chainsaw art began with a whimper.
‘I tried to carve a bear, but a woman asked, “How much for the gorilla?” I was pretty offended. ‘That was my first sale.’
After making enough money, Poitras quit art school, moved to California and hasn’t looked back.
He started out by selling his sculptures on the side of the road in the manicured hills above Malibu.
‘I was hoping some rich people would drive past,’ he said.
Poitras carved an eagle from a log which took him five days to complete.
‘Nobody wanted to buy the eagle, I ran out of money,’ he recalls. ‘I actually sat down and started to cry, sobbing with my chainsaw.
‘I was thinking I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t know how I’m going to survive.’
The struggling artist began to lose hope.
‘But the next thing you know the famous actor Paul Newman pulls over and buys the sculpture for $400 – Paul Newman bought my sculpture,’ he said.
The beginnings: Stacy, originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts, began sculpting at 17 (pictured) when he was a student at School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts in Boston, majoring in painting
After making enough money selling sculptures on the side of the road, Stacy quit school and moved to California. Above he is pictured in action at 19
Among his famous customers is Oscar-nominated actor Sam Elliot (left) who met Poitras while buying firewood near his studio in Calabasas, and requested a sculpture of Smokey Bear
‘That gave me hope. Something’s going to happen if I just keep doing my thing and be authentic and don’t give up. It’s going to happen.’
That same day in 1998, The Color of Money star ordered a huge $20,000 statue from Poitras for a camp he ran for kids with terminal cancer.
The money helped establish the struggling artist and as his confidence grew so did his price point.
He recalls working on his life-size rendition of Michelangelo’s Pietà outside his shop in Malibu when Hollywood star Mel Gibson pulled up.
‘He was building a church down the street and said, “how much for the Pietà?”.
‘I told him it was 20,000 bucks and we shook hands on the sale.
‘It took me about a month to finish and when I was done Mel sent his guy down to give me the money and he had a check for $10,000.
‘I said, “no, we shook hands on $20,000” and he said, “well, Mel thinks it’s worth 10,000”.
‘I was a starving artist at the time so I took the money, $10,000 was like $1million to me at that point. So I was happy for that sale and I don’t hold anything against him.’
Another famous customer was Oscar-nominated actor Sam Elliott who met Poitras while buying firewood near his studio in Calabasas.
‘We started talking and he told me he would love to have a sculpture of Smokey Bear.
‘And I thought, okay, that’s kind of weird. ‘Why would you want Smokey Bear?’ And he said he had been the voice of Smokey the Bear for years…so I hooked him up.’
Elliot – a star of dozens of Western movies and more recently A Star is Born – has voiced Smokey Bear since 2008 and even shares the U.S. Fire Service mascot’s birth date (August 9, 1944).
Stacy’s stunning sculptures now sell for up to $30,000 a piece, but he admits it took him years to perfect his craft
The artist told how he once became discouraged after a woman mistook his bear sculpture for a gorilla. Pictured above is one of Stacy’s intricate works
Nicholas Cage, Sam Elliot, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman and jazz saxophonist Kenny G are among the big name celebrities to have bought Poitras’ work. He was also featured on CMT’s Chainsaw Gang from 2012 to 2016
Not all celebrities are impressed by Poitras’ work however.
TV legend Joan Rivers stopped to look at one of his works – before driving off.
‘I was carving a bunch of skulls when a limousine pulls up and the back window rolls down and it’s Joan Rivers,’ he recalls.
‘She’s looking and she goes, “Oh, you guys are satanic”… she rolled up the window and drove away – so I lost that sale.’
Poitras – who owns Deadwood Tree Sculptures – has now wielded a chainsaw for 35 years as his artistic paintbrush of choice and his sculptures have been seen in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, TV shows and commercials, including a Super Bowl ad.
He was also the creator, supervising producer, and star of his own TV show called Chainsaw Gang, which averaged one million viewers per episode.
His unique style is figurative/realism and he takes inspiration from 15th and 16th Century Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Bernini and DaVinci.
He sums up his talent: ‘I carve beautiful reclining nudes and skulls and tits and full frontal nude men and just things that I think are beautiful.’
Poitras says he loves using a chainsaw because it’s so ‘violent and destructive’ and he’s using it to make ‘something beautiful’.
‘It’s powerful enough to go through wood quickly yet flexible enough to carve out elegant details,’ he said.
He says people often think he ‘roughs out’ a sculpture with his chainsaw and finishes with other smaller tools.
But he insists: ‘I start out with a chainsaw and finish with a chainsaw.
‘I had to teach myself how to come up with all these different textures with the chainsaw and utilize this tool.
‘It’s basically a chisel with a motorcycle engine.’
Poitras says the obvious danger of using such power tool and ‘being scared’ while working helps him with creativity.
Poitras spends a lot of his time helping his actress and director wife Alison rescue animals
In 2012, Alison opened the Eastwood Ranch Foundation in a bid to rescue some of the thousands of animals being euthanized in LA County at high kill shelters
He’s also had his fair share of close calls, recalling how he felt like he’d been ‘cut in half’ during one horrific accident.
‘I was doing the TV show and I was carving a giraffe and I had to do what we call a plunge cut where I push the tip of the chainsaw bar into the wood.
‘So the chain itself is eight feet long and as I was plunging in the chain broke and it went through the sprocket, whipped around my waist and cut me all the way around – I actually thought it cut me in half.
‘I lifted up my shirt and I looked at the camera man, and he goes, ‘we can’t show blood, that’s horrific’.’
Luckily it wasn’t as bad as he first thought.
‘It was like 4,000 little razor blade cuts all the way around my waist,’ he said.
For Poitras though, nothing can compare with how scared he was to meet to meet his future father-in-law Clint Eastwood for the first time.
‘The first time I met him we went to his house and it was mid morning, he answered the door wearing a bathrobe and he had a parrot on his shoulder and the parrot had s**t all over the back of the bathrobe.
‘And I’m like, I’m meeting Clint Eastwood and he’s covered in parrot s**t. It seemed normal.
‘But seriously I was a bit intimidated, I’m not the type of person who is intimidated by fame, but yeah, I fell in love with a beautiful woman, Alison, and her father just happened to be the biggest movie star on earth.’
At first though Poitras says he could tell Unforgiven hardman Eastwood wasn’t sure of him.
‘He was cool, but I could tell he had this attitude, “who’s this f***ing idiot dating my daughter”.’
Poitras says hanging out with the Eastwoods at Thanksgiving and Christmas was ‘surreal’ for the first couple of years.
‘I’m used to it now, my family is full of movie stars, supermodels and rock stars, it’s pretty amazing you know.
‘I’m an artist, like-minded people seem to come together, birds of feather flock together type of thing.
‘So I really think it’s serendipitous in a way that this is what should have happened.’
Poitras says these days – when he’s not appearing in Hollywood blockbusters – his 89-year-old screen legend father-in-law likes to play golf.
‘Clint is a major golfer. That’s what he wants to do,’ he says.
‘He’s not riding horses and shooting people with his six shooter. He’s out there playing golf in Pebble Beach.
‘He can do whatever he wants and he chooses to play golf in Pebble Beach, that’s pretty cool.’
As well as his art Poitras spends a lot of his time helping his actress and director wife Alison rescue animals.
In 2012 Alison opened the Eastwood Ranch Foundation in a bid to rescue some of the thousands of animals being euthanized in LA County at high kill shelters.
The non-profit animal welfare and rescue organization provides care for animals until a home is found for them.
Poitras said: ‘We’ve saved thousands of puppies and kittens that would otherwise have been killed, murdered.
‘My time is split up between doing my chainsaw carving, which I love to do and cleaning cat boxes.
‘But I love doing it, sometimes we have kittens that do not have their mother, so you have to bottle feed them and you have to stimulate them, which means you have to wipe their bottom until they poop and pee and it takes weeks for them to be able to eat on their own and go to the bathroom on their own.
‘So I’m basically a midwife with a chainsaw.’