Photo courtesy of Dara Hurt
Charles Wilder Oakes was born in Rockland and raised in Port Clyde. His father was a life long fisherman and his mother packed sardines at the town canning factory. Much of his inspiration comes from growing up there, but through a filter of 2 childhood mystical experiences: seeing and communicating with an angel as his first memory and a Near Death Experience, going into the light at about 8 years old. It has been said Oakes strives for themes that transcend physical place and reach for a spiritual setting we can all trace roots to. Though he had some training in art, Oakes's approach has always been intuitive and autodidactic. He has had solo shows at the University of Maine at Augusta, the Portland Public Library, and many commercial galleries, including Fahey, Bodell ( now Umbrella Arts ) in New York City. His most recent solo show was in 2012, at Rockland's Asymmetrick Arts. Oakes has also been a participant in group shows throughout Maine and his work has been featured at art fairs in New York City and Washington, D.C. He has been the subject of a Salt Institute for Documentary Studies documentary, and Down East magazine and the Maine Sunday Telegram have published feature length articles about him. He is the subject of a 2012 half hour documentary, "Charles Wilder Oakes and the Muses of Port Clyde," by director Dale Schierholt.