Sign of the Tides: Island Original - Rustic Fish, Coastal & Marine Art by Steve Rice © 2013
Well, I wasn't. But the idea behind Sign of the Tides was. It began with a bonefish I caught in Bimini, Bahamas, many years ago. Beyond photos, I wanted a way to remember an amazing day on the water, in a place with which I instantly fell in love. So I drew the fish on a piece of wood I found, and set about cutting, shaping, painting and distressing it, until it became an emblem of that day. Something I could look at, and have it take me right back no matter how many years intervened. I imagined the fish I carved would have hung for years on the outside wall of a small, brightly painted market on the Queen’s Highway in Bimini. It would have advertised the services and marked the morning meeting point of one of the island’s guides. There, some of the guides have mostly adopted monikers that simply and efficiently communicate who they are and what they do. Bonefish Ray. Bonefish Sam. Bonefish Ebbie. Guys who will sure-as-heck put you on the fish. Maybe even stop along the way to snatch up a conch or two for dinner.
It’s a place I’ve walked barefoot for days at-a-time, carrying only my dad’s old Penn spinner and a hand-sized box of tiny jigs. More than enough tackle for anything I encountered in the breeze-riffled ocean surf. There was plenty out there, too. Palometas and bar jacks. Lane snappers and schoolmasters. One cast after the next, they fought to be the first to those little lures. It’s where I once gazed skyward as a Chalk’s Airlines Grumman Mallard improbably lumbered low across the Gulfstream sky. And where many days ended with a near-frozen Kalik pulled from deep in the chest freezer behind the bar at one of several local haunts. I hope that my creations take you to someplace special – real or imagined. It’s why I do what I do.
I live life as an endless treasure hunt. Call me a suburban beachcomber. Forever scanning the castoffs of others for what will become my art. I create my fish carvings one-at-a-time, freehand drawing their shapes onto lumber I reclaim from many places. That means that I’ve rescued something from the waste stream, and created new life and value for it. But more important, I’ve created something that will bring joy to others. Like the tides that bring treasures ashore, I never know from one day to the next what may land at my feet. But this I know: if I can turn it into something that stirs happiness in you, I am happy. Enjoy.