Most of the work shown here is my take on scrimshaw, where images are hand engraved into a surface and ink is applied into the lines and marks. Traditional scrimshaw is done on whale bone, teeth and walrus tusk, I do it on aged surfboard fiberglass. There is a “green” aspect to the work, as discarded boards are being re-used, but my attraction to  working on old fiberglass is aesthetic- the surfaces are beautiful to begin with, having a patina, color and an implied history that only years of use could create.

The pieces are both representational and abstract, where I try to convey the sensation of riding a wave, graphically. ( If you’ve ever seen a surfer recounting a ride of note, language is not adequate, it requires  hand-surfing, pantomime and kabuki-like expressions, ) The lines I draw are imagined but the act of putting them down on paper, and then fiberglass, has a physicality to it that feels like surfing to me.

I close my eyes and quickly “surf” the pencil on paper. Some rides are better than others- like it’s counterpart in the water-  but occasionally I open my eyes, look at the graphite record of my imagined ride, and get a stoke. Surfers understandably respond to these images but I was pleased to find that non-surfers also seem to enjoy the rhythm and cadence that the lines convey.

Peter Spacek


Peter Spacek contemporary scrimshaw on surfboard fiberglass.

A few pieces from my show at Outeast Gallery in Montauk last July.

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