Miller begins ‘final’ sculpture on Town Green

Tree sculptor Marlin Miller this morning began his preliminary work to transform a standing dead oak tree on the Town Green into a marlin and other marine-related figures in what is expected to be his final carving as part of the city’s Katrina sculpture project.

Miller, a Fort Walton Beach, Fla., wood carver who has sculpted 16 trees in the Beach Boulevard median in Biloxi and others in surrounding cities, is expected to begin sculpting the nearly 20-foot tree at the north end of the Town Green Thursday morning and hopes to have the tree nearly finished on Sunday.

The tree — Miller’s largest and most-detailed project of all of the trees he has sculpted in Biloxi – will show a large marlin jumping upward, attacking three mahi-mahi, “one of which will kind of be in his belly,” said Miller, who also plans to craft into the trunk of the tree two other sea creatures watching the action: a giant blue crab, and a giant sea turtle, whose shell will use concrete that was poured into the trunk years ago to minimize water damage to the tree.

“We’ve done fish like this out on the beach before but we were trying to put big animals in small trees, and so it was a real struggle,” Miller said. “We just didn’t have too much to work with on those small diameters. But this is an exciting tree because it is so massive. We’re going to be able to get a lot of life in the shape of the fish, and we’re going to especially get a lot of life in that great big ol’ fin that the marlin is famous for. Looking from the backside of the tree, you’re going to see that fin just wrapping around and it should look pretty neat.”

Another interesting aspect of the tree: Miller’s wife, Rene, plans to paint parts of the tree to highlight the bright colors of the fish and other features of the sculpture. Said Miller: “My wife has become kind of an expert in fish painting for some of the projects we’ve done” in other areas of the Southeast.

“This is going to be a really fun one, this is really neat,” Miller said. “We’re going to put some detail into it. I especially like this because I’m a fisherman and a lot of things I’m going to put in the tree I catch everyday or I see every day. It also fits into the theme and history of what this town became famous for. And what’s going to make it really exciting for is that this particular sculpture is on the green here in Biloxi.”

Online video, photos of Marlin’s latest project

Marlin on the marlin: To see a video interview from this morning in which Marlin Miller explains his plans for the Town Green sculpture, click here.

The before images: To see photos of the Town Green tree — before and after it was “topped” — click here.

The story of the Katrina sculptures: Rarely a day goes by when someone in not seen on Beach Boulevard admiring or photographing the Katrina sculptures. To read background on the project and to see video and dozens of images, click here.