Ted Ludwiczak is one of Rockland County’s hidden super-stars of the outsider art world. From his home on the banks of the Hudson River in Haverstraw’s quaint Dutch Town area, he has carved hundreds if not thousands of dramatic faces from the incredible rock that gives Rockland County its name. Ted, who left his native Poland shortly after World War II, worked for years making contact lenses. Then in 1988 he retired, and his whole world changed. He recalls: “It all began when I worked on a retaining wall at my home. When I finished it looked bare. Then I noticed a rock on the beach and saw a face in it. I picked up a lawnmower blade I had been using to work on the wall and started carving. The face became clearer as I worked. When I finished, I cemented it in the wall. He looked a little lonely. So I made another one and then a whole family. I haven’t stopped yet.”
Most of Ted’s heads have benign expressions. All of them have a haunting quality that to us links them to those spectral figures that emerged in so many parts of the ancient world. Ted laughs: “Some people say my faces remind them of Easter Island.” He forms faces mainly from sandstone, basalt, and granite, and some from alabaster, and blue-green Vermont marble. Ted’s work is widely sold in New York City and is permanently on display at Baltimore’s prestigious American Visionary Art Museum, which showcases the work of Grandma Moses and dozens of other less-known artists. The Garnerville Art and Industrial Center near Haverstraw, New York prominently features his stone heads. We are proud to have five of them on display in Leonia at the Wood Park area.
Five Heads has been generously donated to the Borough of Leonia.