Mary Anne Erickson

Brownie Camera Beginnings

The Roadside Art of Mary Anne Erickson

By Douglas Towne

“I honestly can’t remember when I joined SCA, but I knew I had found ‘my tribe’ when I went to the convention in St. Petersburg and met all the cool folks,” says Mary Anne Erickson, a lifelong artist.

“It was like reuniting with my long-lost family and so comforting to know how many others share this same passion for preserving the gems from our past.”

Hotel Gadsden, Douglas, AZ

Hotel Gadsden, Douglas, AZ, oil on canvas, 24×30 inches

Erickson’s love of photography started when her Grandpa Joe gave her a Brownie camera in the third grade. She has used photography as a tool in her artwork, much like a pencil, to capture the fleeting moments of light and color, which create “mood,” an important part of her images. “There’s something fascinating about stopping the action to see more deeply into an apparently mundane moment,” Erickson says.

Route 66 Cowboy, Barstow, CA

Route 66 Cowboy, Barstow, CA, oil on canvas, 36×26 inches

The Hudson Valley resident combines her passion for color, beauty, design, and fine taste in documenting the demise of the American roadside culture of “Mom and Pop” establishments, which has been one of her main interests since the mid-1980s. Erickson captures the stories of these businesses in her blog on, which is an evolving book project documenting her favorite roadside attractions.

Comet Drive-In, Santa Rosa, NM

Comet Drive-In, Santa Rosa, NM, oil on canvas, 36×26 inches

She currently operates an eatery and catering business, Bistro-to-Go, with her husband, Chef Richard Erickson, in Kingston, New York. “Every Day’s a Celebration” is their motto, reflecting their love of life and commitment to creating great food and wonderful parties for their community. The enterprise features a vintage-inspired sign that evokes the American roadside of yesteryear. “I’m so thrilled others feel the joy the sign’s design evokes for me,” she says. “Helping people feel good is what we love to do, both with our food and the environment we’ve created around us!”

Tower Motel, Santa Rosa, NM

Tower Motel, Santa Rosa, NM, oil on canvas 26×32 inches

Mary Anne EricksonMary 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.

Website | Instagram.

Did you enjoy this article? Join the SCA and get full access to all the content on this site. This article originally appeared in the SCA Road Notes, Spring 2022, Vol. 32, No. 1. SCA Road Notes is a semi-annual publication and a member benefit of the Society for Commercial Archeology.

More Articles Join the SCA