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Geoffrey Smith’s 7-Foot Pelican Sculpture Is Just One Of The Local Artist’s Latest Projects

The artist behind such local staples as the iconic Stuart Sailfish and the dolphins at Indian RiverSide Park is now working on a 7-foot pelican that will be cast in stainless steel. 

After admiring the sleek finish of his 2-foot "Modern Pelican" piece, Geoffrey Smith decided to take his vision to a grander scale.

“Boy, I thought, this would be really neat big,” he said. “Real contemporary.” 

The long building process started about a month ago, when Smith began carving Styrofoam and adding clay around it—a process he will continue to repeat until the shape is just right. 

“I’ll get the whole thing smooth as a baby’s bottom,” he said. 

Later, a mold of the pelican will be filled with wax. A ceramic shell built around that will then be filled with stainless steel or bronze. The finished product, which would weigh about 500 pounds, should be complete by fall. 

Smith expects the pelican to go for about $100,000, a price that may raise eyebrows—if you’re unfamiliar with the building process. But once people people learn exactly how much time and effort go into these sculptures, Smith said, they often ask if he’s charging enough. 

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “The final product is wonderful and really neat.” 

(Exactly what goes into the building process? See the the Stuart Salifish come together here.)

The 7-foot pelican may only be in its preliminary stage, but that hasn’t stopped Smith from taking it around town. He recently brought the sculpture to the 100 Years of Cars event at the Pine School in Hobe Sound, where it sat surrounded by Ferraris. 

But another recent outing—from Smith’s gallery in downtown Stuart to his studio in Port Salerno—wasn’t as glamorous. 

The pelican, sitting in the back of a pickup truck, fell onto the pavement during the drive and sustained damage to its head. When his son called to tell him about the accident, Smith thought he was joking. Fortunately, the damage was repairable. 

“If it fell out of a truck now, it would be a lot more serious,” Smith said. 

Of course, the pelican is just one of many happenings for the renowned sculptor.

Earlier this month, Smith announced he reached an agreement with Candice Martin of Martin Gallery, which will have sole representation of his works in Charleston, South Carolina. Though Smith has pieces in other galleries in museums across the nation, Charleston is a first for the sculptor, who said the city's international appeal makes it perfect for artists. 

Martin, too, is excited about having Smith's works on display.

"The timeless subject matter and enduring value of bronze sculpture is a great fit here in the Charleston art scene," she said in a release. "Our collectors look for the highest quality in all mediums, and Geoffrey fits in perfectly." 

See pictures of Smith's 7-foot pelican sculpture in progress, below: 

Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith

An image of the stainless steel pelican sculpture that served as inspiration for the project. 

(Images courtesy Geoffrey Smith)