As a child I remember being excited about Norman Edson photos, the compositions and subject matter caught my attention. As a kid on Vashon in the 1960’s & 70’s you couldn’t help but know who Michael Spakowsky was, lead singer of the legendary Doily Brothers and an amazing watercolor artist depicting marine and Vashon scenes, later he became my friend and an inspiration. As a young adult my mom and dad introduced me to Art Hansen’s work, clean, simple, elegant prints. I grew up in a house with work from all three artists on the walls and I always admired their work.
Marshall Sohl’s work tied art and history together and inspired me to find a way to express my own ways of tying art and history together. Over the years I have attempted many ways from drawing and painting to glass but never found anything that clicked. In 2011 VAA did a Partners in Art show and invited my wife and I to exhibit. One of my pieces was a Vashon map made from cut up pop and beer cans nailed to wood. I then began to experiment with making local historical images from cut up cans.
For years I have been doing projects from non traditional and recycled materials for the enjoyment of working with my hands outside the highly structured way of working in a glassblowing studio. In the late 1980’s I began to frequent the Mia Gallery in Seattle, the gallery specialized in outsider and folk art. I became fascinated with how these artists used any materials they had on hand to create art that had a special personal feel to it, much like Marshall Sohl’s work had made me feel years earlier.
In 2102 I had my first show of tin can pieces at the Blue Heron all the pieces were Vashon based images. I was honored to find out that one of my pieces was bought by Mia McEldowney owner of the Mia Gallery.
As a life long Islander from a long time Vashon family I have been listening to old Vashon stories my whole life. In 2011 Jim Sherman and I started a Facebook group called “Old Vashon Pictures and Stories”, now boasting over 3,000 members and thousands of historical Vashon photos and stories from the past. The same year I joined the board of the Vashon Maury Island Heritage Museum and have been involved with research projects and oral histories of longtime Islanders.
These pieces have been inspired by the folk and outsider art tradition and my research and love of the Island.
Made from cut up pop and beer cans nailed to plywood.
Last of the independents in the Engles family since 1951. Engles has served several generations of Islanders. It’s cool Paul is following his dad’s footsteps like his dad did. It was only proper that I put a black 65 Chevelle out front in honer of my old friend Chris Van Buskirk who without fail I would see at the Engles car show every year.
HYDROS 9″ X 14″
I love the view of Mt. Rainier from Wax Orchards it just kinda floats out there above you. This Seattle Times April 1947 photo of the view from Wax Orchards stirred my imagination. I picked cherries there as a kid but do not remember ever seeing the blossoms in bloom.
I grew up just to the left and out of frame of this scene. We called the beach on the left the “New Beach” site of many a neighborhood beach fire. As kids we would walk around in the mud and get stuck up to our waists. We heard the legend of gold being buried there and searched for it. We built an awesome rope swing on the right hand side that you could drop into the water from.
This is my favorite view on Vashon, from a spot where I used to go make out with a high school girlfriend. Olympic Mountian and Cascade view Quartermaster to KVI, its like your flying above it all.
Another favorite view is Mt Rainier appearing from behind Dolphin Point as the ferry pulls out of Heights. The full view of the “Mountain” from sea level to the 14,410 feet summit is huge. On the way home heading into Heights on the ferry the mountain disappears behind Dolphin Point.
Everybody who was around when the “Electric Steel ” ferries were running fondly rmembers them. Sleek art deco galleys, outside decks that went all the way around the boat and my favorite the rounded front area with cushioned seats.They all came up from San Francisco after the Golden Gate and Bay bridges were built and served Puget Sound for over 60 years.
VASHON’S FRONT PORCH 7″ x 10
Another 100 year old site. I remember my first visit as a Burton Elementary 1st grader. I distinctly remember signing the guest book. It’s such a thrill to stand on the beach as a pod of Orca’s passes by. Point Robinson is a place where you really feel like your in the middle of Puget Sound.
STATE BANK 9″ X 9″
The State Bank building, built 1910 it was the first brick building on Vashon. The Mark Waterman built the building and had their Lodge upstairs, It was struck by lightning and the top floor was romped. The building was later added onto to the south and thats where you are standing right now, the original part of the building is Valise Gallery.
Another Electric Steel ferry the Nisqually served Vashon frequently. In the 1980’s the ferry system rebuilt several of them and took all the charm and style from them. Several of the boats continued service until 2007.
VASHON DOCKING 12′ x 12″
The Virginia V is the last Mosquito Fleet Steamer still in use. She made countless landings dropping Camp Fire Girls at Camp Sealth over the years.