BALTIMORE WINDOW SCREEN ART HOME PAGE
bY      TOM LIPKA
Screen Painting History
Window Screen Art (scenery painted on window screens) began in the city of  Baltimore Maryland in 1913 by William Oktavec. Mr.Oktavec began by painting produce,fruits and vegetables on the window screens of his small neighborhood produce store and kept his produce inside to protect them from the hot sun instead of outside as was the practice of the day.Soon neighbors and customers began requesting his artistic talents in painting scenery on their home window screens. Since the sidewalks began right at the doors and windows in the communities of canton,highlandtown and fells point,painted window screens proved both Practical and Decorative. Practical in allowing normal air circulation and light throughout their homes during the long hot summers and allowing them to see out, while preventing passerbys from seeing into their homes.  I firmly beleive screen art began the first Community Watch Program without government intervention or funds. As a young boy I have always wondered how my neighbors knew what I and my friends were into because my parents soon found out and punished me accordingly.  Now as screenpainter, I know how many of my childhood pranks were thwarted. Decorative in providing beatiful artwork pleasing to the eyes in an environment of bricks,cement and asphalt with few trees, shrubs and gardens in the dreary landscape. Thus began the famous Red Roof Bungelow scene with trees,flowers,ponds and swanns, which to this day remains a favorite. It has been estimated that well over 100,000 screens have been painted since their heyday in the 1920-1960 era. Again I believe this a low estimate considering the number of screen artists that followed Octavec including his four sons. Most names have been forgotten but their art lives on via hundreds of painted screens, faded but viable that I have personally seen and photographed over the years.It has also been said that screenpainting is a dying art. Not true, it was the screenpainters who were dying.  However  there are still a few of us left and I'm still around to prove it. The advent of window air conditioners and jalousey type doors in the late fifties severely limited the art but it did and still continues today with a new revival emerging. I began painting window screens in 1945 as a young boy of 10 and was a contemporary of Mr. Oktaves and was honored to appear in the Baltimore Sun Parade magizine with him as the "young and the old screenpainters" although I had never met him. I continued to paint until 1954 when duty called in the Air Force. After dischcharge, marrage,raising family,little league baseball, additional schooling and the need to provide a better living above the spending money associated with screen painting limited my time with only occasional paintings About 1982, I dusted off the paint locker and began painting more as time permitted.Finally In 1996 ater my retirement from the city of Baltimore's Department of Transit and Traffic, I have been painting full time (as permits a retiree) after my fishing and crabbing intrests are satisfied. Below are a few pictures of my work. More pages and pictures will be added so visit often.
Craighill Millers Isl Md.
Thomas Point Md.
Leapord
Farm
Winter
SOUVENIER MINIATURE SCREENDOORS  11" x 21"
Wolf Trap Va.
screendoor wall mounts
Traditional Red Roof Bungelows by William Oktavec pre 1940
PLEASE VISIT MY MAIN WEBSITE AT
http://www.oocities.com/screenpainter@verizon.net/i
http://mywebpage.netscape.com/screenpainter/index.html
AND OTHER OTHER SITES BELOW
http://mysite.verizon.net/screenpainter/
http://www.angelfire.com/art2/screenpainter/painted_window_screens/
http://www.angelfire.com/ar/romlipkascreens/
sscreenpainter@hotmail.com
CONTACT ME AT
WITH COPY TO
screenpainter@verizon.net
screenpainterlipka@juno.com
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