Fundy Spirit artist Jim Boyd – profile

Robert Fisher photo Artist Jim Boyd poses next to his sculpture Fundy Spirit at the unveiling ceremony on Deer Island on Sept 17.

DEER ISLAND – Jim Boyd carved Fundy Spirit, the sculpture created during the Sculpture Saint John Symposium.

Boyd grew up in Hampton and moved to Saint John about a year and a half ago. He has been an artist in all five years of the symposium. Two of his sculptures are in Charlotte County; one in St. George and the new one on Deer Island.

The sculpture for Deer Island was a little different from the others. Originally to have been completed in 2020 and delayed because the event was cancelled due to COVID that year, the time gave Boyd more time to think about the concept.

In June of this year Boyd was invited to the island to see the site at Butler Point.

“To do something that would suit the area,” was Boyd’s objective for the piece. He wanted to evoke the feeling of living in close proximity to the Bay of Fundy and the history of the island.

Later in the summer, Boyd went back to Deer Island where he showed his conceptual drawings to the committee and island residents. The feedback was positive.

The general idea of the sculpture is of a stylized sail sitting on a rock. Boyd said the design could also be of the dorsal fin of a whale as it breaches.

On the front side of the sculpture are three wave-like shapes spiraling in to a hole in the work that are intended to recall the Old Sow Whirlpool off the southern tip of Deer Island in Passamaquoddy Bay.

The back side of the sculpture is hollowed out to represent a sail filled with air. The carved out area is in a teardrop shape, which could also represent a mussel shell.

The hole in the design allows people to look through from the back to the Bay of Fundy, reminiscent of how one would look out the porthole on a ship.

“Deer Island left me to do my own thing,” said Boyd and that they “had faith that I would do something suitable to the area.”

Boyd graduated from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a major in sculpture and has been doing large-scale sculptures for about 20 years. He has participated in other international sculpture symposia including the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium in Maine, and in Istanbul, Turkey.

All the sculptures in the 2022 symposium used the same type of granite – Stanstead Grey – which was mined from a quarry in Stanstead, Que.

Boyd said this granite is very similar to others he has worked with in the past.

“They are all hard,” he noted in an email, and that he liked this stone because it is very consistent with no cracks.

To complete the sculpture, Boyd worked eight hours a day for 27 days straight. He started with a block of stone weighing approximately 18,000 pounds. The final sculpture weighs about 9,000 pounds and stands roughly 10 feet tall.