ROCKLAND—The art show ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ set to open July 6 at Rock City Coffee is not your typical lobsters and lighthouses. Oh, wait, yes, there are a few lobsters in this show, only they are giant alien pinchers and crusher claws inset with ferocious teeth.
Welcome to the weird and wonderful mind of Central Maine artist Scott Minzy, whose alternate worlds depicted are claustrophobic, deliberately uncomfortable, and impossible to look away from.
A fan of 1980s horror movies and street art, he never thought he’d be the one to make ‘lobster art’ as part of his body of work.
“I was reading a children’s book to my kids one day and in one of the illustrations, there was a depiction of the old-fashioned method of pegging the lobster’s crusher claw,” he said. “I grew up around lobstermen, but never knew that’s how they kept the lobsters from being damaged with rubber bands and I just started thinking about all of these lobsters piled on top of each other in a lobster car, banded, isolated, and mutating with anger. In the same way the Reagan/Clinton media deregulation and consolidation created isolated and mutated forms of each party, which started about the same time lobster pegs went out."
His work has the look of M.C. Escher’s “impossible constructions” with the horror fantasy of H.P. Lovecraft’s sea creatures. Throw a little Night of the Living Dead and They Live in there, and that’s the feeling for one of his linoprints where a woman with a zombie face—or perhaps she’s just mindlessly going about her day, same thing—is the disturbing image in the foreground. In the background, a rolling cemetery seems to come on like a tsunami and a man behind her is momentarily distracted by her face. Trying to interpret an artist’s “meaning” is always tricky, but it looks a little like: “There, but for the grace of George Romero, go I.”
His CV explains his process: “My work deals with the universal themes of fear, regret and longing,” he said. “In my prints, these feelings are made manifest with an intricate maze of wiry, anatomical lines, subtle and twisted. I find relief printing a way to depict both our inner turmoil and the outer physicality of the human form at once.”
An art teacher at Erskine Academy, Minzy teaches art classes, animation, filmmaking and street art. “Being a teacher in a room full of high school kids I have only the illusion of control,” he said. At night, after hanging out with his wife and family and after his three kids go to bed, Minzy walks down the hill to his studio to work on oversized linoleum block prints, taking his time to make hundreds and hundreds of tiny cross-hatches to form his alternate worlds. “When I’m down there by myself carving every line, I’m in control then—it’s therapy.”
His oversized prints are made from rolling out giant sheets of paper over the linoleum block through a motor-driven etching press. He has also done commercial work and animation, whose proceeds all go back into supplies and equipment to create his art.
Minzy grew up in Waldoboro and went to school at Medomak Valley High School and his work has been shown locally before at a Pecha Kucha event and at the Black Hole gallery in Rockland. His art career goes back more than a decade, having placed his work in solo exhibits all over Maine and part of group exhibitions nationally and internationally. But, it’s sometimes hard for certain galleries to see a “fit” for his particular style, he admitted.
With one of his prints depicting one of his zoned-out characters holding a sloshing coffee cup, Rock City Coffee seems to be a perfect fit. His upcoming show takes place on the First Friday Art Walk, July 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. Coffee and snacks will be provided.
To learn more about Minzy’s work visit: scottminzy.com
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org