PALMER — Rob Menzies has been running the Bigfoot Art Gallery out of the former Madd Matters building since the spring of 2020.
Menzies participated in a question and answer interview discussing his creative journey across various mediums and job duties, how it brought him to Bigfoot, and how it all came together.
Q: How’s it been taking over Madd Matters with Bigfoot Art Gallery?“It’s been pretty busy.”
Q: Do you feel like you’re filling the role Pam Strahan played in the community with Madd Matters?“I do, especially now more than ever because of the COVID… There’s fewer and fewer of us out here… I mean, 40 years of matting and framing in Palmer? That’s really cool.”
Q: What’s your background look like?“I’ve done just about everything you can do in the graphic artist field, from video production to broadcast, print… So this is kind of my retirement, but I’m not very retried,” he said with a laugh. “I’m a commercial artist, so I’ve been doping graphics my entire life... I sell Bigfoot paintings. All the Bigfoot art [in the store] is mine. That’s what I draw. That’s kind of my niche.”
Q: When did that start?“I started about when the internet started getting really big in the mid-90s… and out comes all these websites, and I’m like, ‘oh wow.’ So, it kind of reenergized that interest I had because I’ve always been into monsters and dinosaurs… Growing up as a kid, I wanted to be a make-up artist, special effects. I wanted to do all that… I took it upon myself to start drawing from eyewitnesses from all over… It became very popular. It was not just with me, but the world was starving for good real quality art for Bigfoot because it gives it some legitimacy.”
Q: How long have you been making art professionally?“I’ve been drawing all my life. I actually started making money from my drawing before I went to art school… I was fortunate to get a job offer from the local cable company a month before I graduated. This is in Medford Oregon in 1988... They basically needed someone to basically build still frame ads on this new computer system… They chose me. I don’t know why, but that’s what got me into computers. Up until that point, I had been drawing everything by hand. I still do a lot of drawing and painting… I was trained to be an illustrator.”
Q: When did the graphic art start developing?“Up here in Anchorage working for KTVA, Channel 11 as their graphic artist, and boom. I just climbed the latter up from there through a lot of video production, doing graphics for video, 3-D animation, broadcast. I learned to edit. I learned to shoot video, work with audio, all that stuff. Years of this stuff.”
Q: So you went from job to job learning different things, how did it lead to starting Bigfoot Art Gallery?“My last job with the FAA, I was a forensic animator… I created all these 3-D animations of real-life instances for the FAA… I did 10 years there and I got laid off… I knew Pam was wanting to sell this place… I just called her up and said Pam, I think I want to buy this place and she was like Rob, I think I want to sell it to ya.’ So, I came out here and we made the deal and this is what I’m doing now. So, I get to combine about everything I learned into here. Although I’m learning the framing and matting part of it, I’m getting really good at that… A lot of people don’t realize I paint and draw and whatnot until they see my Bigfoot art and realize I’ve been published. My art’s out there already. I was on ‘Finding Bigfoot.’ You know how they say, ‘well, you’re an artist, you gotta find your niche. You gotta find something. I guess Bigfoot was that something.”
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org