At their June 8 meeting in World Golf Village, St. Augustine, commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recognized St. Augustine sculptor Pierre Pierce for his contributions to fish and wildlife conservation through his highly acclaimed marine artwork.
He uses his marine experience to intricately sculpt marine animals such as sailfish, turtles, manta rays and even manatees out of bronze. To see some of his work, go to www.pierreart.com.
“It takes people like you to promote fishing and the outdoors. Thank you Captain,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto told Pierce during the recognition.
Pierce had praise for the Commission.
“Over the years, I’ve watched the FWC take difficult problems and make them work for the citizens of Florida,” Pierre said.
During more than 50 years working in a marine-related environment, Pierce has been a marine technician, captained research vessels, collected tropical fish and marine animals for various aquariums, done underwater photography and fished in tournaments.
Pierce was born in Chicago in 1935. He later moved to Camp Hill, Pa., where he learned about hunting and fishing in and around the Appalachian Mountains. In 1953 he moved to Florida to study marine biology at the University of Miami. He started the “Sea Devils” spearfishing club there in 1954 and four years later got his captain’s license.
He worked at the Rosenstiel Marine Lab at the University of Miami as captain, marine technician and underwater photographer. For two years he was also the captain of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium’s marine education, collection and dive vessel.
From 1975-1991 Pierce worked for the Bertram Yacht manufacturing company as captain of its factory boat, Moppie. His main job was promoting the company. Although he did his first artwork in high school, it was while working at Bertram Yacht that he began sculpting professionally.
Pierce is a self-taught artist, with help from other artists and professionals, and he has been recognized by organizations such as the International Game Fish Association, the Billfish Foundation and Southern Trial Lawyers Association. He has sculpted awards for many major fishing tournaments, and his work has appeared in numerous publications.
He and his wife, Anita, who is also a licensed captain, are charter board members of the Guana Tolomato National Estuarine Research Reserve Friends of the Reserve, and he has served as the group’s president for three terms. He is also a member of the St. Augustine Art Association, a past board member of the Marine Industries of Northeast Florida, and a past board member of the Ancient City Game Fish Association and the Greater Miami Billfish Tournament. In addition, he is recognized as a United States Coast Guard artist.
Pierce is currently working with the Marineland Right Whale Project as captain and technical advisor to Dr. Jim Hain for his onsite studies.
Joy Hill, 352-258-3428