Although gone, his art lives on in Paris

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PRESIDENTIAL RACE— An old sign for Maine Sen. Ed Muskie's presidental run in the 1972 Democratic primaries can be seen hanging on an old building on the artist's property on Hebron Rd. (Photo by Adam Brown)

PARIS — Although recently departed in July of this year, life-long Paris resident Colin Wilson lives on in his artwork that has, no doubt, been seen by many.

The house at 220 Hebron Road in Paris, where Wilson grew up and later raised his own family with his wife Janice, has long been adorned with sculptures and ornaments, that can be seen when passing, since the couple was married in 1969.

“He was very talented and [he] very much enjoyed doing all this, these things would just come out of his head,” remembers Janice. “He would make patterns and cut metal, he had everything to work with up there in his garage.”

To the right of the family home, where at least three generations of Wilsons have lived, sits a small building that had, at one point, been a convenience store and antique shop in addition to housing metal craft.

That store, the now closed “Copper Kettle,” has since become an enormous time capsule of sorts. There is even a sign reading “Muskie for President” hanging from the porch; commemorating the former Governor, environmental and civil rights leader’s failed run for president against George McGovern in 1972.

“At first he sold potato chips and cigarettes and soda pop and stuff like that,” Janice recalls. “He was very interested in antiques and digging bottles and stuff so he filled it up with that stuff … you can’t even walk around out there.”

Wilson enjoyed success with his metalwork and although he primary sold “one-off” originals he would sometimes reproduce sculptures on display; a popular design being a woman on a bicycle, a display still residing in the yard.

“He sold quite a number of those,” says Janice. The Wilson’s son, Scott Wilson, remembers his father’s artistry from the time he was very young. “I think he settled in on the metal sculpture by the late ’70s, but he did a little bit of painting before that; he also built cabinets and all kinds of things.”

Wilson had been a truck driver by trade until the mid 1990s and was noted as a Renaissance man, exploring many fields with a “hands-on” dimension – from prospecting to mechanic’s work. Scott, a painter and sketch artist himself who displays his work among his parents’ garden of twisted steel in the summer months, has recently showed more interest in his father’s forge, taking up the mantle of Colin’s artistic medium.

Scott reports that people still frequently come knock on his mother’s door. “We have people we’ve dealt with in the past and people who are new driving by, just stopping in saying, ‘Oh who did this stuff?’”

Wilson’s remaining artwork is still for sale and, according to Scott, “that’s what he would’ve wanted done.”

Interested parties can call Janice at  890-7337 to come peruse. There are scrap sculpture animals, people and faces scattered around the grounds that youngsters can search for while their parents find unique artwork that carries a piece of the artist forward.

abrown@advertiserdemocrat.com