The mermaid has long been known in folklore as a magical being of beauty, bearing the head and upper body of a human female and the tail of a fish. Affectionately known as the angels of the sea, mermaids are thought to have originated as mere figments of the imagination among sailors. But there are some who believe they really exist. As a matter of fact, one was recently spotted on Marco Island! This beautiful lady appears not to be an angel of the sea, but rather, one of the tree. Artistically carved from a 40-foot Norfolk Island pine, she is definitely not the Little Mermaid. She proudly stands 11 feet tall at the home of Steve Hackman on Kendall Drive.
Hackman told Coastal Breeze News of the mermaid’s humble beginning. “The tree had gotten very big, but unfortunately was not very straight and not the most attractive tree. It also dropped leaves daily on our driveway and lawn. Vehicles had to be cleaned up frequently.” Having always admired the pieces that carving artists can create from large tree trunks, Hackman got the idea to do something unique. He searched to find a carving artist who would be comfortable transforming the stump of his tree into something quite different. “I started interviewing local carving artists but could not find one who was comfortable doing a mermaid, which is what I wanted,” said Hackman. “After searching online, I found Elvis Caron from the Tampa area.” An artist with much experience in creating signs, logos and general commercial art, Caron had recently ventured into the field of carving art. Hackman sent him photos of the tree stump, now cut down to 11 feet. Caron immediately became excited about doing the job. Hackman went on to say, “We collaborated on the design, but Elvis is the artist and had to apply the ideas to the real thing. He has done a great job!” Caron’s 15-year-old son, Miles, is home schooled and travels with his father, serving as the videographer, capturing the art of creation in action.
Hackman is so happy with his decision to have an image of beauty spring to life from a gift of nature that grew from the earth for 40 years. Admiring his new mermaid, Hackman said, “It is unbelievable what can be done by a carving artist with a chain saw and grinders. The detail and artistry is magnificent!” He hopes that many others will consider this alternative to cutting down a damaged tree, especially in this post-Irma era.
Take a drive by and see for yourself at 610 Kendall Drive. You, too, may begin to believe in the magic of mermaids!