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Friday, May 24, 2024

Scott Jeffries lays down the law for art

As the resident artist at The Peach and the founder of Gallery OB, Jeffries is dedicated to uplifting fellow artists and building a supportive community in Palm Beach County. With each stroke of his brush, he paints not only a canvas but also a brighter future filled with hope and connection.

A diverse life path led Scott Jeffries to art. Born in the Bronx, he grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, occasionally watching his grandmother paint in her studio.
Scott is the current resident artist at The Peach, the artist collective in West Palm Beach. He is also the Founder of Gallery OB, an artist studio in Lake Worth Beach. He serves on the Board of Directors of the No More Starving Artist Foundation, whose mission is to improve the legacies of all artists in Palm Beach County, Florida.

But it was a long path to get there. Scott was an athlete swimmer when he was young, and when he was not in the pool, he doodled and drew.

“My grandmother was a painter in the Bronx, and when she died, I was about 10 or 11 years old,” Jeffries says. “I remember sitting with my mother in the basement of her house. There was a studio in the basement, and my mom asked what I would do with all this stuff. It was paint, brushes, and canvases, and I remember I put them in my suitcase.”
“Back in Pennsylvania, I slowly started painting, but I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that her house was filled with paintings that I loved, and she was the artist. It was just something that I loved to do for a long time.”

After undergraduate school, Jeffries was admitted to Pitt Law School, but he continued to paint. Inspired by the skyline and streets of New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, he depicted them in his own way, working with bright color and depth.

Scott Jeffries
Scott Jeffries is seated in his gallery within The Peach WPB, the new art collective in Palm Beach County, located at 3950 Georgia Avenue, West Palm Beach.

“I practiced law from the early 90s to 2006, when I moved to Florida to get sober. I was basically a drug-addict lawyer. All my law school and high school books were filled with doodles of smiley faces, street scenes, puzzles, and mazes. I’ve been painting like that for a long time.”

His self-taught work has shades of Paul Klee and Miami’s well-known late street artist, Purvis Young.

“I had no idea who Purvis was, but people had been telling me my work was like his. I love all these compliments and comparisons because artists take from everybody, but my art is my art. They recognize it is mine, and that’s cool. People have asked me about color wheels and color theory, but I just kind of grab what is there. I would walk around the streets looking for old windows or cardboard to paint on. When I was in Philly, the producers of the Trading Spaces show came, and they turned my house studio into a gallery.”

When he got to Florida, he took a studio space in Boynton Beach.

“I was painting for fun and myself, getting sober then and using it as something to do. Then, I got into a show at The Box Gallery and wanted to grab onto the momentum. Over the years, I met the community of artists in Palm Beach County, like Craig McInnis and all these different people, and it became easier for me.”

Jeffries participated in the semi-disastrous container fair show in 2017, which was organized by the now-disgraced felon Danieli. He met people with whom he went on to work. He bought a house in Lake Worth with garage studio space.

“When I got sober, I was always like, what am I going to do with my life? I was a lawyer and all that stuff, but I have an opportunity for a whole new life here, and I want to pounce on it. That’s what I’ve done. When The Peach came along, the opportunity was a no-brainer to do it because I’m always looking to work with other artists, and this is a community space. That’s what The Peach provides.

“As an artist, I’m so glad I get the opportunity to say yes to things. I’m excited to bring some projects and programming into the place. I want to do sober sipping art openings and bring a new perspective and community.”

“I’m in a bigger, better space, which is great. I can do bigger paintings and sculptures. I’m looking forward to sharing my art with people and making new friends, and I’m just excited about it.”

Online at www.scottyjart.com. Follow Jeffries @scottart

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