On November 14, the Caroline County Council of the Arts (CCCA) installed its latest piece of public art at the Wharves of Choptank Visitor’s and Heritage Center entitled Choptank Takes Flight. It was designed and implemented by local artist Rob Brownlee-Tomasso and features eight panels that are inspired by the natural beauty of the nearby Choptank River.
The eight 120” x 30” panels are suspended on the Visitor’s Center gazebo and are printed and laminated on aluminum. The artwork is accessible to all visitors and visually engage the public. The project was made possible, in part, from the Maryland State Arts Council and generous sponsors.
Rob, who is an avid birder, graphic artist and multi-media artist, selected the eight birds for the panels because they are often seen on the Choptank River and from the Visitor’s and Heritage Center. The panels are in effect an educational component as well as visually pleasing.
Rob explains, “The public interaction part of this project is the bird identification. That’s how we engage the public by identifying the birds’ names.”
A member of the Caroline County Bird Club, Rob created the birds using Adobe Illustrator. They were then printed on UV protected outdoor vinyl, which is similar to what is used for vehicle wraps.
Taking inspiration from architecture, history, and nature, as well as depicting highly stylized conceptual characters, Rob creates texture studies done in mixed media. Often on irregularly shaped canvases and sometimes as multiple canvas installations, the acrylic medium or gesso is applied with a mixture of sand, earth, or other materials to achieve a coarse surface.
The main goals of his artistic expression are to find creative and dramatic subject matter that can work in conjunction with richly textured surfaces, and to complete simple compositions that are contrasted by these complex textures. The subject matter is generally a loose interpretation of a specific concept or theme, using simple palettes, often earthtones.
CCCA operates The Foundry Community Arts Gallery and the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore. These venues provide space for artists to display and sell their work, and they also provide space for classes in a variety of artistic mediums. Both venues are located within the Denton Artsway, the state-designated Arts & Entertainment District in downtown Denton. For more information, visit carolinearts.org.