Skelley has been called a true Renaissance man. Jeff grew up in
the Northeast, displaying an interest in all forms of art and
building from a very early age. His first clay sculpture, a giant
squid attacking a whale, was completed in 6th grade while he was
attending St. Thomas Choir School in New York City. Other interests
included sports, cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, building, and
travel. After restoring an old BSA motorcycle, Jeff rode it alone
from New Jersey to California and back at only sixteen years of
age. At a pow wow in Flagstaff, he thrilled a Navajo chief with
a ride on his bike. It was on this trip that he became a confirmed
"desert rat". He paid for his trip through various and
assorted construction jobs which often served as his fallback
career whenever some other thing just didn't quite work out.
studying art and industrial design at Syracuse University, Jeff
found employment in the Las Vegas and Hollywood photography and
film industries. He held positions from cinematographer to director
to producer, and his award-winning photographs and his articles
have been published in numerous national magazines. It was during
this period that Jeff played semipro hockey with the Las Vegas Outlaws.
the late 1970's he left his position as Creative Director for Superscope
Marantz, to restore and then captain his 72' Alden schooner, Bagheera,
around the Caribbean and Central America for six years. He has since
captained many larger boats from the Gulf of Mexico oil fields to
the reefs of Honduras, throughout New England and through the Panama
Canal to the Pacific waters of California; most recently on his catamaran, Reef Shark .
has always been at his best when discovering and learning something
new. He is a shipwright and an expert mechanic, and has managed
shipyards, marine salvage operations, the construction of multi-million
dollar resorts and delicate restorations.
1985 he married his wife, Marty Newton Skelley, in Newport, Rhode
Island, where they began an import business working in conjunction
with the U.S. Forest Service for nine years, manufacturing and wholesaling
Smokey Bear teddy bears. This business brought them west to Sedona,
Arizona in 1989 where they lived for fourteen years and where Jeff took up sculpting. Recently, after a short time living in the desert near Las Vegas, and several years aboard their catamaran, Reef Shark, where Jeff concentrated on writing screenplays and took a break from sculpting, Jeff and Marty returned to their beloved Arizona desert.
Their spare time is spent hiking, climbing, camping, four-wheeling,
skiing, boating, scuba diving, flying and horseback riding throughout
the West. Jeff is a US Air Force-trained mission search and rescue
pilot, a US Coast Guard Master Captain and a SCUBA Divemaster. Jeff
and Marty have dived throughout the Caribbean and United States,
in the Bahamas, Mexico, South Seas and Red Sea.
enjoys writing, and loves sculpting everything from cowboys, horses, wildlife and marine
life to historical figures and cowboy golfers.