Jeff Demarest was born in rural Connecticut, and developed an appreciation for birds with a childhood exposure to the work of John James Audubon, and the collection of exotic species in his father’s aviary. Jeff’s interest in carving birds from wood began as an adolescent, and then was put aside for other interests. Following a career in the Marine Corps concluding in 1995, Jeff trained in the design and construction of fine furniture at the School for Professional Crafts, in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was here he renewed his desire to replicate nature, along with learning and refining the skills of three-dimensional sculpture. Jeff now creates his unique pieces of art in his studio in eastern North Carolina.
Initially, Jeff sketches ideas for design of the intended piece. Seasoned basswood or tupelo gum are then selected. Employing innovative techniques using power and hand tools, the birds with their individual characteristics take shape. The subtle texture of plumage is emulated with a wood burning pen. Multiple layers of oil paint are applied and blended, feather-by-feather, resulting in birds that are intricate pieces of art. Each bird is a unique artistic statement of what Jeff finds in the natural world. His now over three decades of experience include the creation of birds ranging from the hummingbird to the red-tailed hawk.
“No artist creates in a vacuum. Birds have always been a source for artistic inspiration and creation. The natural wonders of birds serve as my inspiration, so my sculptures extend and pay homage to this historic tradition. I consider my best work yet to come.”