The Commodore

George Curtis (1921-1995) grew up in Massachusetts, and later lived for many years in Owls Head, Maine. He was a pilot, fisherman, and sculptor. He and Kosti Ruohomaa were good friends and collaborated on a number of projects. Kosti flew with George to take aerial photos of Dodge Mountain and of fishermen in Penobscot Bay. George Curtis created a humorous persona he called “The Commodore,” dressing in a Derby hat and wearing a cape. Kosti took several series of photos of George Curtis, some as himself, and some as The Commodore. Some of these photos illustrated folk sayings. Kosti made some abstract color photos of the sparks flying from the welding torch of George Curtis.

One of their collaborations, How to Get in Your Boat, included humorous text and photos of George Curtis in his persona of The Commodore and was published in the March 1964 issue of Popular Boating magazine on page 58-59.

George Curtis says of his sea-themed metal sculpture work, “While fishing with Hugo [Lehtinen] I sensed and became a part of the constant struggle of man against the sea and became aware of its unconquerable forces and the struggle of life against these forces… The aircraft mechanic, fisherman, and the fish were all involved in my own struggle for survival as an artist.” (from Kosti Ruohomaa’s notes)