In a storefront on the east end of Spokane Valley, artist Roch Fautch burns the midnight oil.
He is working on a wall that divides the showroom/gallery from the studio space in back. The wall is designed out of sheets of foam and has an arched doorway. When he’s finished applying layers of concrete composite, the divider will have the appearance of a rock wall with surreal elements such as puzzle pieces and swirls.
At the center of the showroom is a tree made of concrete and hand carved with a face and appendages, two of which hold up a round table around its “waist.”
Fautch is all about the surreal.
“When I was 4, I saw my first Salvador Dali painting and I told my cousin, ‘When I grow up, this is what I’m going to do’, ” he said. “It was like a light bulb lit up.”
Fautch’s work, from his concrete creations to his paintings, have a viewer tilting his or her head and asking things like, “Concrete can do that?” and “Is that a human brain walking on four legs?”
Born and raised in Spokane, Fautch, a licensed general contractor, has always been an artist, sometimes starving in the process but his vigilance has paid off, earning him job after job creating decorative concrete projects such as water features, outdoor entertainment areas and faux rock designs for clients through his business, Magicraftsman Company. Over the years, he has mastered his medium and found new and innovative ways of using it. “I add, subtract, model and sculpt,” he said, “it’s very versatile.”
His new location – on Appleway Avenue west of Barker Road – has opened up possibilities for Fautch. He wants to do more large-scale public works, perhaps a park where children can climb on dragons and play house in a castle. He also wants to revitalize the area with art exhibits and events on the theme of “surreal living in Greenacres,” introducing visitors to thought-provoking works and new ways of thinking.
“I want to stretch people’s imaginations,” he said.
Fautch will celebrate his 55th birthday at his first event Friday. The evening will include an exhibit of five generations of Fautch art work: his grandfather’s pen and ink cartoons, his father’s paintings, his own paintings, photographs and paintings by his two daughters as well as his young granddaughter’s framed masterpieces. He will also exhibit his garden sculptures including egg-shaped planters and furniture fashioned out of concrete.
Boomers Classic Rock Bar and Grill, a few doors down from Fautch’s location, will be participating in the festivities with live music by Emeris and Magicraftsman-inspired food and drink specials.