By JOSEPH SAPIA
Traveling on Asbury Park’s First Avenue between Main Street and the beach, one is likely to have seen the taller-than-an-adult, lighted peace sign on the second-floor balcony of a house.
“People do know it,” said Linda Myers, owner of the house. “They use it as a landmark.”
The peace sign, eight feet in diameter, went up as a political statement about eight years ago – “This was my response to (President George W.) Bush starting a war,” she said – and it simply remains in place.
And who is Myers?
As she says on her website, fabulousframeart.com, “My life has evolved through a series of F-words.”
F-words of the clean kind: She grew up on a farm in her native Cranbury, where her maiden name, Stults, is easily recognizable as one of the old surnames of the area; studied fashion at what is now LIM College in New York City.
“(But) I never worked in the fashion business,” Myers said.
She, however, did work as an interior decorator in Houston. She said she is just naturally creative.
“I was just good at artsy things,” said Myers, who, instead of wanting to give her age, says she is “celebrating the golden years.”
She and her mother operated a flower business in Hightstown (from about 1975 to 2001) and Plainsboro (about 1981 to 1998). Both were called Country Florist and Greenhouse.
When she retired from the flower business – Myers from the Plainsboro store, her mother continuing the Hightstown shop – in 1998, she started doing artwork with picture frames at the suggestion of one of her flower shop workers.
Myers rounds up old frames from such places as yard sales and flea markets.
“My basement is filled with frames,” Myers said. “I look for frames all the time. People bring them to me. But flea markets are the best or yard sales. They should be old, 100 years old.”
Myers glues frames together, smaller ones within bigger ones, “until they marry,” she said. She paints them, forming her style of artwork by combining someone’s earlier craftsmanship.
Some are recessed, some are even at their surfaces. Some could have a mirror or retro glass in the middle.
She works with Keatorbilt Cabinetry Design and Millwork of Asbury Park if the frames have to be cut or that sort of thing. Most of the frames are priced at more than $1,000 and go up to $3,500, Myers said.
“I like to make stuff,” Myers said. “I like to work with my hands. There’s usually a frame hanging in a gallery somewhere.”
A few days before terrorists struck on American soil on Sept. 11, 2001, Myers moved from Cranbury to Asbury Park.
“I wanted to get out (of Cranbury),” said Myers of her hometown, whose downtown looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell illustration – perhaps too staid a town. “I don’t think I resonate with anybody there.”
But her daughter lives on the same Cranbury farm Myers grew up on.
Myers once lived with her then-husband on a 49-foot boat they owned in Flushing Bay in New York City.
“We would walk from the boat to the subway and take the 7 Train into town everyday,” she said.
Myers’ three-story house – built, she figures, between 1880 and 1900 — is a reflection of her artistic side. On the railing of the second-floor balcony, for example, is a fiberglass female form covered with sphagnum moss.
“She’s just a work in progress,” Myers said.
The sphagnum moss female shares the balcony with the peace sign.
“You can see the ocean (from the balcony),” Myers said. “In the winter, you can see it much better, when there’s no leaves on the trees.”