SAWK Photography

Documentary: Charles Wilder Oakes

Charles Wilder Oakes - a recovering alcoholic and the folk-artist hero of tiny Port Clyde, Maine - has painted and created fantastical art pieces his whole life. His paintings reflect the tiny coastal town where he was born and raised in a fish shack next to lobster crates, rocks, and pine trees. Four years ago, he gave up drinking when an angel appeared and tapped him on the forehead, directing him to stop.

He lives in Spruce Head, not far from where he grew up, and is currently painting his angel, who appeared to him once before when he was a child riding around on his tricycle.

To see more of Charlie's work, visit his website.

Photos courtesy of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, Fall 2007.

Charlie dons his bushman jacket to head out into the Maine cold.
Getting inspiratiion to work on his giant, auto-biographical painting,
Painting a lobster crate.
Charlie and a gallery-owner hang one of his large paintings.
Charlie wipes the chin of himself as a teenager.
Digging for junk at the dump - many of Charlie's pieces feature found items on the canvas or in their frames.
Daydreaming in the studio.
Reinventing his front yard with the help of his friend Nate.
Laughing with an old lobsterman buddy.
On his daily morning walk with the 'beaver' he found for one of his paintings.
Charlie and his first love.
In his kitchen.
Charles Wilder Oakes.