Meet Simon Morris – The Man Behind the Mermaid….
(DiverWire) It’s one of the most popular underwater attractions in the Cayman Islands – the famous Sunset Divers Mermaid sunk just off the shoreline of Sunset House Resort on Grand Cayman. The impressive nine foot bronze statue has been attracting dozens of scuba divers nearly every day since she found her underwater home in 2000.
The project was years in the making and the brainchild of Canadian sculptor Simon Morris. An avid scuba diver since his teenage years, Simon actually became a bronze artist in a surprising way. “I became a bronze sculptor because I was too stupid to realize it’s so difficult,” he admits.
Recalling the story, Simon was working in welded steel abstracts in Vancouver, Canada, when he was approached to create a bronze sculpture for a nearby resort. Powell River is a small town on the Sunshine Coast, 4 hours north of Vancouver. It is the self proclaimed “Diving Capital of Canada.” Not knowing much about bronze castings, he found a friend and mentor who worked in a local art foundry and took him under his wing. Through this relationship, Simon learned many of the nuances of bronze castings.
That project resulted in the creation of “the Emerald Princess”, Simon’s first mermaid statue that was placed in Mermaid Cove near Powell River in 1989. Taking what he learned from that project, Simon began visualizing his next mermaid project. Her name would be “Amphitrite” (named by a young lady who won a contest at a local dive show) and she would become the “Sunset House Mermaid” a decade later.
The process for the Amphitrite statue took six months to create the original sculpture and another six months for the casting process. He claims the actual “creation process” wasn’t completely finished until the statue was submerged into salt water. “The coloration is created using various chemicals that affect the bronze. It’s the chemistry between surrounding sea water – pH, salinity, mineral content in surrounding rocks and reefs – that adds the final touches and makes the work really come alive.”
His work is not just limited to mermaids, though. While past works have included marine life, figuratives (people), and special custom pieces, Simon is most excited about his latest piece, the 13 foot tall “Guardian of the Reef”. The next installment in Simon’s “mythological series” of statues, he’s called the “Guardian” and when finally cast, he will look worn and aged. “This symbolizes that he is always there watching the reefs and there is a cost to doing that.”
Simon has spent his life pursuing two careers, one as a sculptor, and one in the diving industry. Having served for several well-known dive gear manufacturers in sales and marketing, and most recently as VP Product Development, Simon co-founded a new company in 2011 to bring a new and patent-pending fin technology to market.
The company is CETATEK – manufacturing a new line of scuba fins that were unveiled to the industry last Fall. Nearly four years in development, the new aquabionic warp 1 fin won several awards at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show last November.
While Simon’s experience with modeling and the process of injection molding process makes him familiar with the creation cycle of the new fin, his role in CETATEK focuses on marketing, sales and international distribution.
Simon is also excited about the release of a special edition version of the 1/12 scale bronze casting of Amphitrite to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Sunset Divers at the end of April. These special sculptures are supplied with an engraved brass plaque attached to the stone base with the Sunset Divers 40Th Anniversary logo, each one hand numbered and signed by Simon. There will only ever be 40 of these specially labeled pieces available.
For more details about the incredible underwater aquatic sculptures by Simon, visit his website