.... in print
Published articles and photos of you-know-who
Sunday, April 12, 2015
(Excerpt from longer article about the Lake Eola Fiesta)
December 30, 2012
Old Town Art & Craft Show showcases painted wooden eggs, pottery and more
By SHELDON GARDNER
Artist Alan Traynor pulled a fake hen out of a bag and placed it on his head.
“This is Henrietta,” he said. “She’s been my mascot for 10 years or so.”
Traynor, “the egg man,” has painted wooden eggs since 1991. He is one of an estimated 100 artists who are displaying their work at the second annual Old Town Art & Craft Show at Francis Field in downtown St. Augustine. “I just love the shape of an egg,” Traynor said. “I guess I’m a miniaturist at heart.”
Traynor’s first venture into egg painting was a failure that led to success.
He tried to paint real eggs for a friend who collects them. His attempts at blowing out the yolk and painting them led only to a pile of broken shells, which he gave to his friend with a note that read, “Happy Easter. I tried.” She suggested that he paint wooden eggs instead. “I have now painted over 48,000 wooden eggs,” he said.
On Saturday, his booth was filled with dozens of painted eggs
covered with lighthouses, Santa Clauses, angels, and celebrity faces such as Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., and The Lone Ranger.
Before he painted eggs, Traynor painted 40-foot-tall scenes for the municipal opera in St. Louis. “Now I paint 2 inches high,” he said.
Bringing artists and the community together is what Lynn Wettach and her husband envisioned when they started the art show. Wettach and her husband, who are artists, wanted to help other artists show and sell their work.
“It’s a little challenging for artists because of the economy,” she said.
The event features many different art forms including jewelry, glass work, pottery, prints and furniture. Artists had to apply to be in the show.
Between 5,000 and 8,000 people are expected to attend.
By CRYSTAL FREEMAN
Normally when people think of eggs, either Easter or breakfast comes to mind.
However, once you meet the Egg Man, you may think of eggs a little differently.
Alan Traynor, also known as the Egg Man, was originally an artist on the side strictly as a hobby, but that all changed in 1991.
"A friend from New York was coming to visit me in Florida for Easter in 1991," Traynor said. "I decided to try to paint an egg for her collection. I kept breaking the real eggshells that I had blown out. Just as a joke, I wrapped up the broken eggshells and gave them to her saying "Happy Easter. I tried!' And she laughed and said, "Why don't you paint me a wooden egg?' And that one sentence changed my life."
Traynor went from an entertainment manager at Walt Disney World to painting eggs for a living in 1993.
"I've never regretted that decision," Traynor said. "I've painted over 39,000 eggs and I am still going!"
Although Traynor is not a resident of New Jersey, his annual appearances at the Solstice Gallery have been making him quite popular along the Jersey Shore.
"In May of 2003, my very good friend Pook Pfaffe fulfilled her long-time dream when she opened up the wonderful Solstice Gallery in Beach Haven," Traynor said. "I am very proud to say I was the first artist she asked to be represented at Solstice Gallery, and in July of 2004 I decided to come up and do a "visiting artist' event. It was a great success, so its been an annual event ever since."
"Traynor's eggs range from holidays to beach themes and everything in between. He explains that when he does bring his collection from Florida to LBI he has to be careful with which beach scenes he chooses.
"I live in Florida, and one of my favorite subjects to paint is the beach," he said. "Of course, in Florida we have palm trees and of course New Jersey doesn't. So I am careful to bring lots of beach and marine eggs to Beach Haven that don't have palm trees."
Upon entering the gallery, the sheer volume of eggs is awe-inspiring.
"They are all painted completely by hand, with no transfers and no shortcuts," he said. "So the painting can take from one to three hours per egg. Then there's a coating process to make then smooth and shiny as glass or ceramic. This involves about 15 layers of clear polyurethane, which takes several more days."
But after all that painting, Traynor said he never keeps a single egg and can't choose a favorite.
"Like any artist, I feel like my creations are my children," he said. "I enjoy the process as much as the result. So my favorite is always the one I am working on at the moment, and I'm happy with whatever I am painting."
However, there have been times when painting an egg has been a little difficult for the Egg Man.
"Years ago, when I was doing custom eggs, I painted Big Ben and Parliament on a 4-inch tall egg for a good friend of mine," Traynor said. "She had taken a photo on a trip to London and wanted the image recreated on an egg. I can tell you, the Parliament building has 176 windows facing the river and I painted every one of them as realistically as possible."
Traynor says he does make mistakes, but he learns from them.
"People ask me all the time, "What do you do if you make a mistake?' I say, "Easy! Wipe it off and paint over it and try not to make the same mistake again," Traynor said. "I see what I do as the gradual elimination of mistakes. With practice, an artist learns to avoid mistakes they've made in the past. So, the simple result is the more you do it, the better you get."
Even though Traynor has been doing this for so long he is still amazed by the reactions of customers when they first meet him and see his eggs.
"A lot of people dont believe that they are unbreakable," he said. "I tell them that it is OK for them to pick them up, but they are so afraid to touch them. Sometimes when they do realize that it is unbreakable, they will tease their friends by having them drop it thinking it will break. But they all learn to love them."
Traynor also said that with each return to Beach Haven, his eggs have grown more popular.
"We get a lot of repeat customers every year," he said. "It's hard because once you buy one you just have to continue the collection. And that's why it is an advantage for me. Like other forms of art, you can only have so many paintings, but because my eggs are so small you can easily fill up a case with hundreds of them."
Even though Traynor has created more than 39,000 eggs, he doesn't see himself retiring any time soon.
"I've been doing it for 16 years," he said. "I hope to keep it up as long as my eyes and hands don't fail me. Plus, what would I do for fun?"
The Egg Man will be at the Solstice Gallery in Beach Haven until Monday. More information is available by visiting www.eggmanart.com or by calling the Solstice Gallery at (609) 492-0033.
Photo and article by: Kim Hall/Celebration Independent
Alan Traynor, known as The Egg Man to collectors, has painted more than 39,000 wooden eggs in his career.
Alan Traynor, a former stage manager for Off-Broadway and Broadway shows in New York City and for Walt Disney World, is known as The Egg Man to collectors. Celebrating his 16th anniversary as an egg artist, having first painted a three-dimensional wooden egg for a friend 16 years ago for Easter, he exhibited hundreds of his painted eggs at the festival.
"I got started painting wooden eggs because a friend of mind collects eggs," he said.
He was hooked almost immediately to the new art and left his job at Walt Disney World two years later in order to pursue his painting career full time. To date, Traynor has painted more than 39,000 wooden eggs.
Dressed in a painter's smock and a hat made of a stuffed chicken sitting on a nest, Traynor painted his wares throughout the Spring Art Festival, drawing large crowds to see the to-scale wooden eggs displayed on the shelves around and to watch his delicate technique. The hat, he said, is more for shock value.
"No one ever forgets me, I'll tell you that," he said with a smile.
Themes featured on the eggs range from music to weddings to seasons and more.
"My favorite aspect of painting is the
variety that I'm able to do," he said. "My favorite
subjects are beach scenes, so it's kind of an escape."
issue of Hometown News, the community newspaper for
Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Anna Radoff shops at The Egg Man's booth during the art festival at the Old Fort Park in New Smyrna Beach on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Photo by Haley Mitchell, staff photographer
This time, the upper left corner of the front page.
Thank you again, Orlando Sentinel!!
Thanks to Ken Payne,
on-air personality and Program Director Magic 107.7
Clear Channel Radio - Orlando
for including the following pic and nice words in his online blog
March 19, 2007:
Would you buy an egg from a man in a Chicken Hat?
My wife and I have purchased quite a few. Alan Traynor, A.K.A the Egg Man, creates wonderful works of art on wooden eggs. We see Alan at all of the festivals and also at Disney in the World Showcase. He's actually quite eggcentric (his pun, not mine)! We were glad to see him again this weekend at the Winter Park Art Festival. My wife asked about a unicorn egg for my sister-in-law, and he said he was going to be creating some soon.
March 20, 2004
by Annette Gluskin-Habin
Talent, commitment and dedication. These are some of the qualities necessary to pursue what H.L. Mencken calls "the irresistible creative passion of a genuine artist." Many Southwest Orlando residents have devoted countless hours, an unwavering spirit, and tremendous effort to pursue what they love, for the enjoyment of themselves and others.
An Unusual Specialty