'Improbalobsters': Maine icon is Orr's Island artist's muse

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BRUNSWICK — Visit Tom Brudzinski’s art studio six times and the next lobster he eats will be named after you.

It’s an odd take on the frequent buyer card. But for anyone familiar with Brudzinski’s sense of humor, it’s not surprising.

Brudzinski, 64, is an architectural designer who is turning his hobby, making lobster-themed art, into a full-fledged business.

His creations line the walls, fill the shelves and hang from the ceiling of his Fort Andross studio.

There’s the trophy of a lobster claw sitting beside this year’s “Fourth of Julobster” print, which features lobsters with firecrackers for claws. Resting on the table is a print of the “Lobsicle,” a frozen crustacean on a stick, a twist on a vintage Popsicle ad. Lobster claws painted delicately with water colors hang near the doorway.

Brudzinski has been painting and drawing lobsters for years, and he’s not sick of them yet.

“It’s a good creative challenge,” he said, to think of a new lobster-themed Columbus Day card every year, or find new, clever ways to fill the months of the lobster calendars he makes.

Brudzinski, formerly a Maryland-based designer who worked on master-planned communities, said he has been drawing his entire life. He started vacationing in Maine more than 40 years ago, and began to eat and then draw lobsters.

“When I was on vacation I would draw whatever I was looking at, and there were often lobsters in the picture,” he said.

In 2004, he and his wife bought a house on Orr’s Island; they permanently moved to Maine two years later. That was the same year Brudzinski’s first watercolor lobster calendar came out, a limited-edition release where he incorporated the name of his adopted state into every month of the year – for example, “JanMaineuary.”

He mailed the calendars to friends around the country, who recommended he sell them. So, a year and a half later, he did. And he began to make lobster-themed holiday cards: Paul Revere galloping on his horse while ringing a lobster bell for Patriot’s Day, or a “lobsturkey” for Thanksgiving.

He also paints more artistic watercolor renditions of the crustacean, which he admits his wife prefers to his witty illustrations.

Brudzinski just finished up next year’s calendar, a combination of illustrations and watercolors, which is for sale on his website, lobstart.com.

Going forward, Brudzinski said he hopes to continue with the theme of “improbalobsters,” or lobster mash-ups with other animals (think seagullobster), and would like to sell more of his prints in local stores and art galleries.

What if he gets tired of his subject matter?

“Pigs are next,” he said. “Particularly flying pigs.”

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

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Tom Brudzinski, of Orr’s Island, stands in the Fort Andross studio in Brunswick where he creates lobster-themed prints and artwork.

Brudzinski puts a lobster spin on a vintage Popsicle advertisement.