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


6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Peter,
    I read about you in William Finnegan’s book “Barbarian Days” (the Spanish version, though). As you are a surfer, I was curious about what would your illustrations look like so I looked you up in Google and came across your scrimshaw drawings.
    I was particularly impressed by the one in this post (psandscrim.jpg) because combining the real photograph on the left (which I consider the best one in Finnegan’s book) with its “abstract” counterpart on the right manages to capture the smooth flow of the ride. Well, at least this is how I feel about it. Congratulations!!
    By the way, that ride in Madeira must have been awesome…
    Best regards.

    • Thank you Agustin! And I’m glad you like that image with the photo. My website is in dire need of an update, and I’m working on it. Check it out again in a week or so. Yes, that ride was exciting! I had no idea that pictures were being taken and was surprised when the photographer sent me it a few weeks later. It’s a good souvenir of a memorable session with Bill. Thanks for writing.
      Peter S.

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