Ferron Bell  1943-2013

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Born Thomas Ferron Bell on Oct. 30, 1943, in Pasadena, Calif., he was the youngest of three children and the only boy. He always had the water in his life beginning with the pacific ocean. Bell was a self-taught artist. “He never took art in high school, he went to the dentist for the first time when he was 6 years old. When he came home, he drew the dentist chair with all of the equipment, the drill.” Bell moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., with his parents in 1960. That’s where he really got into the art world. “He found out that he could sell his paintings and he enjoyed doing artwork. He specialized in whimsical things.” He went out on his own at sixteen, and always had an unending imagination which enabled him to seemingly create something out of nothing. He spent two years in a monastery learning self discipline, and lived in St. Croix, Morocco, Puerto Rico, and Cape Cod.

 

Artist Ferron Bell at Pines 1969

 Ferron Bell came to Fire Island Pines in 1965.   He brought his artistic talent, humor and unique wit with him and a half century later, there is not one walk in Fire Island Pines where at least one house does not display a painting by “Ferron”.    Fire Island Pines remained Ferron’s home for over thirty five years, and that is where his inspiration for his humorous and colorful paintings was born.  Winters were spent in Key West, Florida.  Painting was Ferron’s whole life and so were his ties in the Pines.  He won major awards throughout the country for his art and his feeling was always to keep his art popularly priced so that it was available to everyone.  

Ferron would employ his creative talents and transform everything from shells, driftwood, to chair legs into delightful pieces. He made his living through his art by paying with it. In that way the message of his art was spread all over Fire Island and Key West. His work was seen on posters advertising shows and events.

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His art was featured throughout the years in various art show in the community. He was the epitome of the struggling artist as he never achieved financial stability.

 

 

 

 

 

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His art had a whimsical feel. He became part of the Pines community involving himself deeply spending full seasons there Spring through winter. He opened an art gallery in the Pines in 1990.

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In 1993 with mayor David Dinkins, Ron Perkov, William Hayden at Pines 40th anniversary party,  1992 GMHC Morning, and with Sylvan Cole at 1991 Art Show. .

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In 1995 he created this art out of a block of wood as a way to commemorate the event “Pink Umbrellas. Courtesy of Tony LaRocco.

 

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In later years he moved to Key West and became a part of that community. He opened a gallery called “Ferrondippity.” He continued to struggle financially. His health began to decline. His heart remained in the Pines as he communicated with some residents. In 2013 he planned a return, but it was not meant to happen. He passed shortly after leaving a legacy of art to remind people that this way came artist Ferron Bell, and he made a difference…