ROCKLAND — Don’t be afraid. Even with teeth in his claws, he won’t bite. His name is “Red,” and this crustacean comes with his own saddle. Richard Allen, a Rockland sculpture artist, created this 4-1/2-foot lobster out of cedar with a chainsaw and hand tools last year. It was commissioned by Claws seafood shack in Rockland as a way to entertain customers while waiting in line.
The centerpiece sculpture is several hundred pounds and Allen added whimsical details such as teeth inside the lobster claws, garden hoses for antennae and a bright blue saddle, so people can take photos of themselves riding it. Quoting Albert Einstein, Allen said of his lobster friend: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Allen took several weeks to carve all the pieces and assemble them in his backyard studio in Rockland. He’s known for his giant driftwood horses and deer, and loves constructing animal totems out of wood. In a previous story Penobscot Bay Pilot covered on his work, titled Rockland artist's lifesize driftwood horses and moose roam free, Allen said: “I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I’ve done hundreds of these horses all over the country. I love the serenity of working on it as the piece grows.”
Jo-Anna Jackson, an employee of Claws, said, "We see people climb up on this lobster all the time, from little kids to adults taking selfies [and posting] on Instagram. Last week we had a bunch of adults holding their beers and riding it like it was a mechanical bull."
Allen also has a fun fact about lobsters. "You know at one time several hundred years ago, the lobsters that crawled up the shoreline were as big as one of those claws," he said. "And the Native Americans would chop them up with an axe for fertilizer."
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org