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Artist Abbott creates new piece of ‘figure art’

October 2, 2019
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Approaching Jeff Abbott's house, there are people playing golf on the putting green and people in golf carts. Around the bar under the stilt house there are several figures in various stages of smoking, drinking and "bar talk." On the deck there's a bikini clad woman fishing in the canal and nearby, Matt LaShay is examining his cell phone with an Uzi slung around his shoulder.

Abbott is an artist that adds something new to the Pine Island / Matlacha art community of painters, jewelers, photographers and wood carvers. Although Abbott also paints, his most recent art form is "figure art."

Abbott's newest creation of a shark eating a diver came out of having a small cargo elevator installed at his home.

Article Photos

Jeff Abbott and Wes Bishop shake hands next to Abbott’s latest work.

ED FRANKS

"I have a stilt home and sometimes getting groceries and other heavy things upstairs can be difficult," Abbott said. "I contacted one of your (Pine Island Eagle) advertisers, Veranda 'vator and Wes Bishop, to install a cargo elevator. When they installed the elevator I thought it looked like a shark cage and decided the cage needed a shark. Of course, the shark needed a diver and the idea was born."

Abbott was born on Long Island, New York, but moved to Florida when he was 1 year old and considers Naples, Fla., his hometown. Abbott attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he studied art under Bob Gelinas and Harrison Covington. His favorite artists include Francis Bacon, Philip Pearlstein, David Hockney and Lynn Davison.

"I was encouraged by my high school teacher to paint and was an art major in college," Abbott said. "Then I was in the boat repair business for 30 years using Gelcoat and fiberglass to repair boats, so I'm used to working with those types of materials. The materials are similar to what I used repairing boats so making art figures comes easy to me."

"The first art figure I did was a figure of my dad after he passed away in Naples 20 years ago," Abbott said. "The figure was of my dad fishing on the dock. I put my dad's clothes on him and he looked so real neighbors would call to tell me to check on my dad because he hasn't moved in a while."

Abbott created two art figures for Mel Meo's studio -- one bending over getting mail and another on a ladder reaching up towards the roofline. He also created a Marilyn Monroe figure from the movie the "Seven Year Itch" with her dress blowing up.

"I spend about a month on each figure," Abbott said. "First I create a skeleton out of PVC pipe that I can shape with a heat gun. That gives me the structure to start from. Then I spray foam on that until I get enough bulk to carve it with a hacksaw blade. Finally I put on a coat of paintable silicone just like skin. Whatever you can imagine, you can create."

 
 

 

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