But Wait, There's More
If you have taken time to dig this far, you deserve more, so allow me to take you on a quick, yet twisted tour of how I got to this point in my journey.
The urge to create didn't sneak up suddenly, but rather grew and redirected over time. Having grown up in New England and spent my childhood exploring the outdoors, it seems only natural to me now that that would foster an appreciation of the cycle of the seasons. At the time, it didn’t seem that way; it was just what I did. Countless hours spent wending my way through new-growth forest, fording streams, and overturning nearly every rock in my path was just a day to me. It took years and hindsight to really understand and appreciate the magical world to which I was exposed.
Advancing to a career dealing with antique furniture and decorative accessories seems like a natural progression, since I was raised in a house peppered with a variety of antiques, and both my parents had excellent artistic sensibilities. Learning to distinguish antiques from forgeries by style, construction, and wear only served to strengthen my eye for how time affects everything. Details like wear marks on and around drawers and feet on a chest of drawers, or sideboard told a tale of perhaps centuries of use, often by generations of the same family. Studying the lines of classic furniture allowed me to exercise my creativity once again, as I was called on often to design bespoke furniture for discriminating clientele who had exhausted their search for just the right size and style piece for their home. I was able to create scale drawings for English cabinetmakers to use in construction of high-end furniture that would blend into a household of antiques.
Halloween became a fascination and vocation later in life as I was drawn into the world of haunted house events, designing my first one for my brother-in-law back in the ‘90s. He had a farm and had heard about a new recreational activity called haunted hayrides and wanted to capitalize on that. We repurposed the tomato greenhouse as a haunted house, utilizing the dead, dried tomato plants as a creepy maze, and built scares along a path outside through the fields. It was highly successful and it served as a creative outlet for me for several years. I took great pride in creating exacting costumes for characters I played, including Terminator 2, Batman and Beetlejuice, while at the same time redesigning the layout yearly so that the show never got stale or predictable. If I had heard of cosplay back then, I’m sure I would have pursued that as well.
My tenure at the farm ended with my sister’s divorce and I moved on to work in several other haunted events in design, construction, acting, or all three. This has culminated in my latest iteration as Assistant Creative Director at Horseman’s Hollow in Sleepy Hollow, NY.
If any town has Halloween cred, it’s Sleepy Hollow, the area formerly known as North Tarrytown, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge along the Hudson River, immortalized by Washington Irving in his short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Horseman’s Hollow takes the reins from there and eloquently stitches together a successful 18th century-themed haunt across the street from the Old Dutch Church and the very bridge Irving refers to in his story where Ichabod Crane was chased by the Headless Horseman. Situated at Philipsburg Manor, a working farm and manor house built by Frederick Philipse in 1693, and overseen by Historic Hudson Valley, this attraction draws visitors from all over the globe. It is here that I really began to flex my creative muscles.
The scarecrows and corpses you see on this website were designed for this event and I have continued to produce them in varying forms and sizes. They are a culmination of my study of the natural effects of time and the elements on various materials and surfaces, while at the same time designed to have a classic, bygone era appearance that in a curious way simultaneously invites and repels. Using photos I have taken of these creatures, I have designed Halloween greeting cards featuring composites of them on the property and combined with sunset photos I have taken to create a style that is uniquely my own.