Ira “Steve” Skees was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1953. He grew up an avid hunter and fisherman. He graduated from Old Dominion University in 1986 and was promptly offered a job with NASA as a Trajectory Analyst at Goddard Space Flight Centers Wallops Flight Facility. He relocated from Norfolk to Onley, Virginia.
He started carving in 1995 after his son asked for something better to hunt over then the plastic duck rig they were using. It inspired him to carve a “flock” of his own. He has been carving and painting his decoys since then, his focus on contemporary antique decoys. His favorite wildfowl to carve is the pintail and his favorite bird to hunt is the black duck since they are relatively abundant on the coast of Virginia. His favorite win so far has been was at the Ward Foundation World Carving Competition in 2007.
Ira is one-hundred percent self taught when it comes to his carving and painting. His self admitted biggest influences when it comes to both carving and painting come from Reggie Birch and Mark McNair.
His inspiration in style comes from the vintage Virginia and Carolina schools of carving. His favorite medium is wood and paint and he believes that an open mind, a comfortable chair and good music help are essential for good carving.