Bennett Abrams, renowned eco-artist and co-founder of Carlsbad-based NatureMaker Inc., died Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004 at his San Marcos home. He was 72.
An artist, sculptor, ecologist, inventor, metaphysician and entrepreneur, Mr. Abrams was mentor to many, and was known as a gentle and restless spirit who manifested his limitless creativity into a successful 40-year career in the visual arts.
In the 1960s, spurred by the budding environmental movement, his research into Egyptian mummification, Victorian taxidermy and other preservation methodologies led him to create a series of ecological sculptures in wax, primarily commissioned by museums, corporations and private collectors. Vignettes of butterflies, fallen leaves and mossy hillsides of trembling wildflowers “frozen under glass,” initially a fad, became a sought-after decorative and collectible art throughout the 1970s.
In the 1980s, he and his life partner, Gary Hanick, founded California Country Trees, and later the public studio, NatureMaker Inc. Mr. Abrams gained worldwide recognition and fame for inventing, innovating and promulgating an entirely new art form, Steel Art Trees. These true-to-life arboreal sculptures — giant oaks, palms, sequoias, banyans and many others — are seen and enjoyed in public and private venues on five continents.
Mr. Abrams’ first studio was founded in Idyllwild where he lived from 1979 to 1995. The inspiration of the majestic mountains and primeval forest were immediately manifest in his work.
Services were private.
Mr. Abrams was a man of his word. A handshake was good enough for him. I remember my last meeting with him. We talked about a lot of subjects. A fine man. I wish he was still with us.