You may have noticed Sunset Studio, a small green-and-yellow truck configured with a built-in art platform that is artist Lance Shinkle’s movable studio. With paintings adorning the slide panels and tailgate, the imaginative vehicle is also a gallery on wheels, one that Mr. Shinkle can move to different parts of town in order to paint: the harbor, the village, Main Street or other locations.
Mr. Shinkle secured his name in the annals of Falmouth back in 1988 when, with a chainsaw and chisel, he began his most ambitious masterpiece, the Carousel of Light.
This working carousel with a nautical theme contains 20 horses, a mermaid that blows bubbles appropriately named Bubbles, and a wave that graces this whimsical and imaginative playground for young and old. In order for everyone to appreciate his creation, the carousel is equipped with two wheelchair-accessible chariots.
The carousel was completed in 1993. That same year it made its debut at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds in East Falmouth.
The next year it was on display at Mashpee Commons and was an instant attraction for the shoppers. It was part of the Hyannis scene for one summer and was even situated at Grand Central Station for a Christmas season. Quite a history!
In 1999 the carousel sadly went silent. With Mr. Shinkle occupied with some personal responsibilities, the carousel was not seen or heard. In 2013 Mr. Shinkle gathered a group of civic-minded people to help establish a nonprofit organization with a simple mission: to bring joy. The carousel entered into extensive restoration and returned to Falmouth by the nonprofit group Friends of the Carousel of Light, in 2014. With its inaugural season on the grounds of the Mullen-Hall School, the horses on the Carousel of Light were prancing again.
The carousel horses are carved from reclaimed Eastern white pine from the Cataumet Sawmill in Falmouth. With a chainsaw the contours were formed, and with chisels finishing touches and details were polished. Panels accented above the horses depict scenes of Falmouth landmarks in paintings. The imagination and creativity behind the carved blocks of wood transform the simple frame to another dimension filled with the passion and perfection of gifted hands.
Recently Mr. Shinkle’s work has taken on a dramatic change, from chainsaw and chisel to paintbrush and palette. The style is physical, broad, sweeping, bristly, bold, sculptured and dramatic.
Subjects are the sights around town and the landmarks we love.
In addition to Sunset Studio, Mr. Shinkle’s trademark vehicle is a motorcycle adorned with a carved lion’s head—the envy of any Harley rider.
Originally from Southern California, Mr. Shinkle has lived on Cape Cod for more than 30 years and calls Falmouth his home. The lights and darks in Mr. Shinkle’s work are strongly influenced by his past experiences in that art form and with some study time at the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown and with artists Lois Griffel, John Kilroy and Daniel Green.
The Gallery on Main at 317 Main Street in Falmouth is featuring work by Mr. Shinkle in a special exhibit Tuesday, November 24, through Thursday, December 24. No opening reception is planned, but the gallery is open daily and by appointment.