While he enjoys playing the instruments he creates, Potokar said he probably has even more fun crafting them. “That’s why I keep making them,” he said. “They are instruments, but I want them to be nice to look at and enjoy on another level.”
Indeed, some of his customers have adorned their walls with the musical wares made by Potokar.
An exhibit of his works held at a popular furniture gallery in the Soho section of Manhattan last January drew hundreds of visitors and gleaned rave press reviews. Orphic Gallery proprietor Phil Lenihan saw the buzz created by the Potokar exhibit and decided he wanted to line up his work for an exhibit at the Roxbury venue, which opened just a year ago in a building formerly known as the Roxbury Corner Store.
“Phil really has a good eye, and what I like is he is willing to take some risks,” said Potokar. “In the art world, that’s refreshing. What I do is a hybrid thing between art, sculpture and musical instruments. And the art world likes to have things spelled out.”
Potokar, the son of a Latin jazz and polka drummer, will also display a variety of stumpf fiddles. These are traditional stringed instruments that use percussive elements evolving from polka bands.
Joining Potokar for the musical performance Friday will be Alice Malloy, Frank Coelho, Mark Schaaf, Paul Badger, all founding members of his original ensemble from Cleveland. They will also be joined by Michael Suchorsky, who was the drummer for Lou Reed in the late 1970s, and Chris Butler of Tin Huey and The Waitresses acclaim.
The Orphic Gallery and Potokar will celebrate the closing weekend of POTOPHONICS with a workshop and concert at Spillian: A Place to Revel, a new retreat center at the former family estate in Fleischmanns. On Aug. 24, a hands-on workshop will be conducted for participants to create their own stumpf fiddle, followed by a concert featuring Potokar and several musical colleagues.