Creating found art from old wood
DAVIS PARK—Skip Acquaro takes planks of old wood and creates a new universe on their blank surfaces, particularly scenes of Davis Park.
A life member of the Davis Park Fire Department and a public safety officer with the Town of Brookhaven, he’s hoping to show some of his artwork, including the three-dimensional 40-by-16-inch creation of the Davis Park Harbor Store at the firehouse this Memorial Day.
Background scenes include the Casino, beach grass and walking trails. The Harbor Store’s shingles are painstakingly detailed via fine brush strokes.
“You have to have patience,” he said. “Every brush stroke counts. The shingles took three hours. The glass on the windows reflects the water and the clouds, so every time you look, there’s something else to discover.”
Acquaro works after hours using band saws, belt sanders and table saws, as well as craftsmen tools like awls and knives.
The Davis Park Harbor Store features a bulkhead with knotholes; that was accomplished when he poked nails in with a tack hammer, a painstaking concentrator.
The entire piece took a month, but he has others that are smaller, featuring nautical scenes. His Marina Tower piece is 20 by 24 inches and has the specific shape identified with Brookhaven Town.
Prices range from $20 to $1,000. Right now he has 30 pieces available.
“I sketch the scenes out, then paint the background,” he said of his method. In his shed, he nails the pieces on and uses dollhouse glue for features like the tufted beach grass. “Everything involved is trying to get the right scale,” he said.
Acquaro’s father produced drawings for the Army’s newspaper when he served in Korea. As for his son, he always made plastic model planes and boats growing up in Lindenhurst, and he drew. “I’d do wooden models when I was 13,” he said. “Then I wanted to make something that represented where I lived.” He would look at three-dimensional artwork hanging in upscale stores and felt he could do better.
After spending summers on his boat with his family at Davis Park, the local and nautical scenes began to nudge his creative side.
In 2002, he began entering his work in the Davis Park arts and craft shows, skipping some years.
“When he began, Skip was always doodling,” said Davis Park fire commissioner Bob White. Firefighter Jack Farrell, who painted, gave Acquaro pointers, he explained, and he started tackling more difficult artwork. White has purchased four of Acquaro’s works. His favorite is of the Davis Park harbor with several boats, the Harbor Store, a hotel and the Casino Restaurant.
“It’s very detailed,” White said of Acquaro’s technique. “He does marvelous work.”
Henry Gerard Gimenez owns Spacious Living in Port Washington, where Acquaro frequents his store. “Everything I sell comes from dismantled barns,” Gimenez explained. “I sell beams and dismantled wood. Skip likes barn siding. I’ve seen his work and love it. I’d say the best way to describe it is folk art.”
Acquaro terms it “found art.”
Where does he store it?
“I have them mostly stacked in the corner of the living room,” he said, laughing. “One day I hung a few and my wife said, ‘I feel like I’m in a nautical museum.’”
To view more of Skip Acquaro’s work, visit greatsouthbayart.com.
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