Tuna/Swordfish Harpoon
Tuna/Swordfish Harpoon

History of the "Swordfish Harpooner"

Kevin had been going to the Martha's Vineyard since he was a kid. When Kevin was working on a local charter boat out of the Cape, he would occasionally visit Menemsha harbor to get fuel, drop fish off at Larsons Fish Market, or pick up a charter. During those visits he was always drawn to the Harpooner sculpture. Kevin was intrigued by the history of the once thriving sword fishery that once was home to Menemsha. This sculpture spoke to him of what once was, a different time, before smart phones, the world wide web and the fast paced world we live in now. When designing the Poon Harpoon logo with his wife Rachel, he kept coming back to the sculpture he had visited many times as inspiration. It just seemed to fit and the outline of the "Swordfish Harpooner" became part of then Poon harpoon logo. Kevin did not know much about the artist or even the history of the sculpture or even how long it had been there? Finally, one day he was contacted by the artist Jay Lagemann and they discussed Kevin's using the likes of his sculpture in his logo. Kevin told Jay about his affinity for the the sculpture and the inspiration it gave him since he was a kid. After discussing his usage and intentions of the logo and not wanting to infringe or capitalize on his work in any way, Jay kindly allowed Kevin to keep using the outline of the sculpture in his logo and it is greatly appreciated.


If you would like to see more of Jay's work or are interested in purchasing a replica of the "Swordfish Harpooner" or find out where you can visit the sculpture in Menemsha, please follow the link below for more information.

Jay Lagemann has been making sculpture ever since he started coming to the Vineyard in 1950. The land around his house and studio in Chilmark has developed into the Wild Island Sculpture Garden that is always evolving and changing. While he has a penchant for the outdoors, Jay spends more time indoors when winter comes.  Clay becomes the favored medium.  Most of his clay pieces are abstractly figural and are made in the warm tones of terra cotta and stoneware.

Dr. Lagemann reads widely about outdoor sculpture and likes to visit sculpture gardens, most recently climbing the wall of a private sculpture park in California to be able to see the hidden sculptures.  He is interested in how sculpture works in the out of doors and especially in the interaction between the sculpture and its environment over time.

Lagemann is recognized for the animated, playful characters he created from metal. He is perhaps best known for the seventeen-foot tall Swordfish Harpooner that stands amidst the dunes in Menemsha commissioned for Chilmark's tri-centennial in 1994. Responding to requests for a personal sized version of the Swordfish Harpooner, Jay attended a workshop at the Johnson Atelier and Foundry in New Jersey.  There he learned how to work in the bronze medium and completed the casting of a prototype that was used to produce the edition of bronze 'Harpooner' sculptures.  The bronze Swordfish Harpooner is mounted on a hand picked beach rock from Chilmark's South Shore. They are signed and numbered and are suitable for placement inside or outdoors.

The original Raising Children/Swinging Jenny is the full sized painted steel sculpture of a man swinging a young girl by her hands that has played for five years on the front lawn of Marianne's Screen Printing in Vineyard Haven. Outlined in white Christmas tree lights it warmed the heart of many a passerby on cold winter nights.  When the original steel edition sold out, Jay took the opportunity to take on the creation of another, smaller bronze. He says about his work:

I saw it as quite a challenge to translate Raising Children/Swinging Jenny from large steel to a small bronze.  It is not easy to get a feeling of weightlessness with a medium as solid and heavy as bronze.  I ended up making four different models.  By working on them from different angles and in different lights I was able to make one that I feel works very well and I am proud to have created.



Living on the idyllic Island of Martha’s Vineyard and making art, I have built up a Wild Island Sculpture Garden in Chilmark that is constantly being reimagined. I build new pieces, move pieces, change materials, work life-size and larger as well as working smaller and more intimate. The environment on Martha’s Vineyard is relaxed, community oriented, and beautiful. This is an Island that welcomes anyone who wants to experience life with conversations, walks on the beaches and in the woods, and time to create.

I make sculpture that people want to be around, pieces they want to live with and enjoy over time. I start with an idea then try to actualize the idea. The more complicated the process, the more stimulation I get from figuring out how to make the piece, the better….and it’s more fun. I find sculpture a tactile medium in two ways. One, of course, is the obvious “feel” of a piece. What you “feel” when you touch it, and I encourage people to touch my work. The second tactile experience is more internal, a “feeling” in the brain. It’s a connection to an emotion that feels familiar. When shaping a sculpture, I work until it “feels” right to me, not necessarily exact detail, but the gesture and form have to be right. I’m always trying new materials, better solutions, learning new skills while always making art for myself first. If I can satisfy this critic, myself, then I can make a successful piece.

I work in cement, fiberglass, plaster, driftwood, clay, steel, iron, video and bronze. I have individual large pieces in my Wild Island Sculpture Garden, which covers nine acres. The Swordfish Harpooner, a monumental outdoor sculpture done for the Chilmark Tri-centennial in 1994, overlooks the harbor at Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard. The Harpooner was constructed with a metal armature and covered with concrete. We hope to have it cast in bronze in the near future.

My video work is concentrated on seeing the Vineyard that I love, filming nature and my grandchildren at play. I video the construction of my sculpture, the successes and the failures as I work toward completion of a new piece. These videos can be viewed weekly on my show, “Jay’s View”, shown at 8:00 pm Wednesday on the local cable access station MVTV.

I also have outdoor pieces at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs and the Field Gallery in West Tisbury, both on Martha’s Vineyard. I have a weather vane done for a children’s park in Kona, Hawaii. My smaller bronze pieces are shown at the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard and are featured in many private collections.

I attended Princeton University, concentrating in mathematics and art and MIT, where I received my PhD in mathematical logic. I have been living full time on Martha’s Vineyard since 1976 with my wife, Marianne Neill, surrounded by family and art, enjoying the many advantages of life on the Vineyard while surfing, biking, hiking, and working in my studio.

Remembering a        True Innovator

In March of 2014 Offshore Innovations and POON Harpoons suffered a huge loss with the passing of its founder & President Kevin Glynn. Kevin's lifelong experience as a fisherman and boat captain coupled with his passion for innovation are at the core of what makes Offshore Innovations and POON Harpoons a leader in the industry. Kevin's legacy will live on with the continuation of Offshore Innovations & POON Harpoons under the management of the extended OI/POON family. We remain committed to providing innovative, high quality products that are made by professional fishermen for fishermen.

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