Speaker Series

Re-enactor Strohm to portray
artist John James Audubon

Audubon spent part of his life in Kentucky

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

WESTPORT, Ky. (November 2010) – Mike Strohm has felt a strong connection to bird artist John James Audubon for most of his life. Even though they lived in two different centuries, Strohm has noted many parallels in their lives that have aided him in portraying Audubon for students and adult audiences.

Mike Strohm

After meticulously studying Audubon’s life, Strohm has portrayed the artist for the last decade. Strohm grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, where Audubon lived for a time. Both ended up moving to northern Kentucky, Strohm to Kenton County. Both worked for the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and composed inventive artwork.
“Audubon was obsessed with a passion to do artwork better than anyone else,” said Strohm, 60. As an artist himself, Strohm has created Creek Labs, his interpretation and tribute to aquatic life in Kentucky. A realistic way of looking at aquatic life, Strohm has exhibited his work from Washington to eastern Pennsylvania, and in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, California, Louisiana and Florida.
Strohm will bring his unique presentation of Audubon to Oldham County at 6 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the Westport General Store. This portrayal is the second in the series, Fall River Lecture Series, presented by the Oldham County History Center. Reservations are requested.
“I have known Strohm for some time and he does an excellent job of portraying Audubon,” said Nancy Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County History Center. “He plans to set up an outside tent and re-enact Audubon’s wilderness camp as it would have been 200 years ago.”
Outside Strohm will display items used in collecting wildlife materials. He may even have a squirrel or grouse on display, animals Audubon would have used in his compositions.
For his lecture inside the Westport General Store, Strohm will have on display period cooking materials, historically correct art supplies, such as mussel shells which were used to mix watercolor paint, and possibly a quail. The latter animal can be used to show how Audubon “used various gage wire to create a flight posture,” said Strohm. From this model he would often create sketches and then his finished works of art.
John James Audubon was a dominant wildlife artist who lived in Kentucky from 1808 to 1820.

• Reservations for the Lecture Series can be made by contacting the Oldham County History Center at (502) 222-0826 or emailing ochstryctr@aol.com. Dinner is included in the ticket price.

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