When I became a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, I was only 11 years old. I did not realize that the age of 38 I would be sitting here still talking about Turtles to this day with other TMNT fans around the world. I never pictured that I’d get to meet so many people who’ve worked on TMNT either. I have to say it’s been the wonderful people behind the Ninja Turtles, which kept me a fan all these years. Which is why I highly encourage other TMNT fans to go out and meet these wonderful folk. I try to stand behind each of these talented people when they venture out on their own, which brings us to today’s story. Shellback Artworks, a Gallery, store and school that was opened in Wells, ME by one of those amazing guys.
When walking into Shellback Artworks it’s clear that it’s an art store with lots of supplies for art students and people who have an artistic career. Though it’s hard not to notice the four large Ninja Turtle Statues directly to your left. As you focus around the store you’ll see it is surrounded by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merch as well. Old products from the 90’s to newer 2000’s toys. There’s a rack that sells different Comic Books and so much more. This store has a breath of life just at the entry way. Something Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Fans can enjoy.
The statues that you see of the four Ninja Turtles were created for the Words & Pictures Museum which use to be in Northampton Mass. The Museum had the statues hanging over their interactive section of the Museum. As these statues brought joy to anyone who went through the Museum. In 1999, the Words & Pictures Museum closed down. It’s been a real treat to have the Ninja Turtle Statues returned together as a group to the public here at Shellback Artworks. I remember tearing up when I first saw them there, as the memories of the Words and Pictures Museum rushed through my mind.
While this floor host some awesome features, going up stairs brings people into the behind the scenes of Comics. As there’s a Gallery with some really awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artwork, from the Mirage days. These pieces are for sale, though looks great framed for the public to enjoy. I enjoy just taking a walk through this gallery and stopping at each piece to admire the detail put into the art. The different styles and characters. Always a true treat to see. I remember on my Birthday a few years ago, they had an autograph session with Eastman and Laird, and they were set up with tables through the middle of this gallery. A wonderful memory of spending time with friends and enjoying a real Birthday treat.
This is the general area open to the public. Though there is one more section, a classroom in the basement where art classes were being taught. Something that artistic young minds could enjoy to help move forward into the Art World. Giving this one small building some true life and character. Not once was I disappointed going out to see Shellback, and I could not recommend it more to fellow TMNT fans. Sadly, time is limited as of now.
On October 2016 Shellback Artwork is holding one last event before closing their doors to the public. An autograph session with some of the amazing talents behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, including Peter Laird. We’re watching online as things are boiling down to this sad date, one that reminds me so much of the closing of the Words and Pictures Museum in 1999. The Statues have been sold, though will remain on display till Shellback Artworks is closed. The date has been shared, photos are going around online and fans are already starting to plan their trip up for this sad date. It will be bittersweet as we all get to spend time together, making a new great memory.
Shellback Artworks is ran by Steve Lavigne. Steve is an artist who worked for Mirage Studios, but more than that he went to school with Kevin Eastman. If you ask Kevin about Steve, he will inform you that he created Michaelangelo’s personality from Steve. Which can be seen in some of the characters that Steve brought to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe, like Stump and Sling or my personal favorite Cudley the Cowlick! He’s been a part of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a long time and is worth taking the moment to meet him.
Steve is one of the main reasons I love going to Shellback Artworks. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve had the honor of spending time and catching up with Steve. We talk about Turtles, life and art. I love supporting what he does here, since he’s a great guy. The good news that I hear is, by closing down the store Steve will be traveling out to meet more TMNT fans by going to conventions. A chance to see him in different parts of the Country and share his stories with more excited TMNT fans.
Once learning of this event, I talked with a group of friends who I knew that also loved Shellback Artworks. We have decided to make the journey out for the bittersweet day. I am speaking up here to encourage others to join us. Events like this are always better with more fans, more heart. As we each bring something new and exciting to the event. If you are free the weekend of October 15th and would like to be there for a part of TMNT history. Please do join us.
Have you been to Shellback Artworks before? Did you meet any awesome guests? Are you planning to attend the closing event on October 15th? Please share reviews, comments and questions below!