Maine Rockers holds pop-up shop for the month of April
FARMINGTON - Acrobatic bunnies, snowmobiling moose and grinning bears have set up camp at 155 Front Street as part of Maine Rocker's April pop-up shop.
"I love this spot. I love seeing people every day and letting them see what I do," Creator/artist Rick Osterhout said.
Osterhout's workshop lives in a picturesque barn in Phillips- a beautiful place to create art, but without much foot traffic from potential buyers. The pop-up shop allows the artist to gain exposure without the commitment of a full time gallery.
A self-described "folk artist," Osterhout creates a wide range of art, from religiously symbolic, sobering pieces to giant wooden moose on rockers. The rockers were what inspired the switch in career from timber framing to full time artist, though they are just a small piece of Osterhout's varied collection.
"I wanted to get out of carpentry, make something big, and have fun doing it," he said. Not long after the giant rocking moose was born other characters followed, all perched on stilts, swinging from tight ropes or settled into kayaks.
The more serious side of Osterhout's work includes large, abstract birds made from swooping pieces of reclaimed metal, hand-carved women framed by an antique French cookie tray and expressionless faces staring out from behind the bars of an old chair back.
"I like to reuse old things. It's because of their age, I think, that they have a certain kind of beauty," Osterhout said.
Maine Rockers is only a year old and is already gaining momentum quickly, appearing in festivals around the state, including securing a spot at Common Ground Fair this fall. Going from living in a tiny off-grid cabin and commuting to his studio by walking several yards, to running a "Moose Fink" dragster in the state's biggest parade at the Rockland Lobster Festival, life as a small town artist is picking up speed.
"Starting a small business is not easy," Osterhout said.
Especially when that business is being an artist. It can be a tricky balance of not taking it too seriously, making a living off of it and at the same time keeping it affordable to buyers, which Osterhout said he wants to always strive to do.
"This is a great middle of the road for me right now. I'm so comfortable with saying I'm a "folk artist." A working man artist. I'm not trying to be Tom Brady, just the guy on the bench making a living doing something that I love," he said.
You can find Maine Rockers at 155 Front Street for the rest of this month, and then in Phillips at Osterhout's studio. For more information find them on Facebook here.
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