Mary Anne Erickson is a lifelong artist who combines her passion for color, beauty, design and fine taste into everything she does. Documenting the demise of the American roadside culture of “Mom and Pop” establishments has been one of her main interests since the mid-1980’s.
Her love of photography started when she was given her first Brownie camera in the third grade by her Grandpa Joe. She has used photography as an important tool in her artwork, much like a pencil, to capture the fleeting moments of light and color which create “mood”, an important part in her images. “There’s something fascinating about stopping the action to see more deeply into an apparently mundane moment”, she adds.
Mary Anne’s love of the great American roadside took root at an early age on her family’s yearly summer road trips, staying at motels and dining at “Mom ’n Pop” restaurants across the country. Even as a child, she documented her favorite attractions and kept souvenirs from these trips, creating scrapbooks and writing diaries, many of which she still has today. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that she began to realize a number of these great old signs and buildings were slowly disappearing. Whenever and wherever she traveled she photographed and often painted these icons, an amateur preservationist in the making. She also became interested in collecting and writing the stories of these businesses in her blog on www.vanishingroadside.com. These images and stories are at the heart of an evolving book project, documenting her favorite roadside attractions.
Travel writing for The Huffington Post and TripAdvisor have brought her passion for expression and sharing her insights about “the road of life” to a much larger audience. In 2015, a trip through northern India created openings for experiencing new aspects of humanity and culture, diverse landscape, light and shadow, and essential design elements.
A graduate of Art Center College of Design, she lived in New York City for 15 years, working as a graphic artist and painter. Her work has appeared on movie posters, book and album covers, and publications including The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, Interview, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Ms., National Lampoon, HBO and Warner Home Video covers.
In 1985, Mary Anne and her husband, Chef Richard Erickson, bought a renovated barn near Woodstock, New York, and five years later opened their restaurant Blue Mountain Bistro to critical acclaim, including a stellar review in Gourmet Magazine. After many years of creating great food and wonderful memories for the Woodstock community they felt it was time for a change.
In 2007 they opened their own roadside attraction, Bistro-to-Go, in a mid-century modern building in Kingston, New York, creating another successful eatery and catering business.
“Every Day’s a Celebration”, their motto, reflects Mary Anne and Richard’s love of life and commitment to creating great food and wonderful parties for the Hudson Valley community.
Mary Anne’s artistic sensibilities infuse everything she does, from orchestrating elegantly catered events for hundreds of guests, to creating powerful photographs and paintings. Her most recent creation is a vintage-inspired “neon” sign for Bistro-to-Go (fabricated with energy-efficient LED tubes), which celebrates Mary Anne’s love of the great American roadside of yesteryear. “Customers are going crazy for the sign,” she says. “I’m so thrilled others feel the joy this vintage design evokes for me. Helping people feel good is what we love to do, both with our food and the environment we’ve created around us!”