PALMER — Something squatchy has been lurking in the shadows at the intersection of South Colony Way and West Geranium Avenue in Palmer.
Rob Menzies bought the building that formerly housed Mad Matters and opened Bigfoot Art Gallery in the spring of 2020. Since purchasing the business from Pam Strahan, Menzies has enjoyed interacting with the residents of Palmer who need custom matting and framing, as well as those who have squatchy stories.
“My niche has kind of been bigfoot. I paint and draw everything. I do portraits, I do mountains, I do everything but I love monsters. I’ve always loved monsters and dinosaurs. When I was a kid I was a nerd. I would draw monsters and dinosaurs and I was really good at it. I could draw mountains and stuff too, but it bored me,” said Menzies.
Since taking over Mad Matters from Strahan and reopening as Bigfoot Art Gallery, Menzies says that dozens of people will stop just to take pictures of his backlit big foot cutouts on the front of his building. Menzies thanked Strahan for her guidance and willingness to help with matting and framing. Other customers for matting and framing will see the large bust of a sasquatch in the store and start talking, and others come into the store for the sole purpose of sharing their story. The question that has always loomed around sasquatch is the wonder about if it exists.
“I think he is [real]. I have not seen one but I have heard them. Just actually just this summer I have,” said Menzies. “My theory following that study, science, I think it’s probably what that is, it’s just things were fornicating back then. Something got through but one of these homonim apeish wildish mated with a humanish and out came this mutt.”
Menzies was born in Juneau and grew up in southeast Alaska. Menzies went to an art college in Oregon and enjoyed a long career in animation, illustration, and graphics. Menzies worked for Cook Cablevision and also the now-defunct KTVA in Anchorage doing broadcast graphics. Menzies most recently worked as a forensic animator for the Federal Aviation Administration over the last decade and is now enjoying his hobby as a bigfoot illustrator and enthusiast while providing services for matting and framing. As the internet exploded in the 1990’s, Menzies became addicted to researching sasquatch on the world wide web. Menzies contacted people who believed they had first hand experiences and did his best to recreate what the big foot would look like.
“I got really sick of the same crappy pictures, blurry drawings you know. There was no legitimacy to it,” said Menzies. “Being in Juneau, of course it was really squatchy. Juneau is a rainforest.”
Menzies has produced hundreds of detailed sasquatch illustrations and graphics, many of which have been circulated far and wide on the internet by other bigfoot enthusiasts. A number of bigfoot tours and television programs have expressed interest in shooting with Menzies, who was featured during a short clip on ‘Finding Bigfoot’ in Fairbanks. Menzies said that he is not the mysterious person who has positioned metal cutouts of bigfoot along trails and roads in southcentral Alaska, but is encouraged by the bigfoot community in Alaska. Over the years, Menzies has amassed a collection of bigfoot art pieces including ‘Big George,’ the large bust in the middle of Bigfoot Art Gallery that Menzies purchased from a bigfoot taxidermist in Oklahoma. Many of the customers at Bigfoot Art Gallery enjoy taking selfies with ‘Big George.’
“I kind of thought that this thing has been around a long time. I think it’s been around as long as we have. I think it’s probably prehistoric or very primal. I think they are just something we don’t know anything about them because they remain hidden. They don’t want to be found. They’re big, they’re fast, they live in the woods, so they’re already at an advantage. They live in the mountains, they can run up steep cliffs, they’re out of our league you know so they pretty much can run circles around us in the woods and I think it’s helped disguise them, hide them,” said Menzies.
Last summer, Menzies traveled to a friends property south of Seward to help him build a remote cabin. Every visit Menzies has taken out to Seward, he says they have witnessed bigfoot activity. Initially, a toilet seat from the outhouse was ripped clean out of the plywood box and discarded away from the site. Menzies says that they have heard whoops, tree knocks, and seen massive rocks launched from shore. After clearing the area of trees, Menzies and his friend observed massive depressions in the fresh dirt that they believe to be bigfoot prints. After initially seeing the print in the dirt, Menzies calmly asked his friend to examine what he had discovered.
“I look down at the dirt pile and there’s this freaking foot print,” said Menzies. “I’m feeling better because now I know it’s not just me. I’m not being crazy that’s, a ... big foot print.”
Menzies and his friend took plaster casts of the prints that are now displayed in Bigfoot Art Gallery and have shared their findings with bigfoot researchers.