Mark Cline is a Virginia-based actor, cartoonist, impresario, magician and master of fiberglass sculpture. Inspired by monster and science fiction films, he produces foam and fiberglass figures and fantasy characters for attractions and cities.
Cline started his career as a showman when he was a child. His abilities were not recognized by the academic structure and so he was placed in a “special” class—not for his creative abilities, but as a “slow learner”. School was a challenge for a clearly ADHD child in the late sixties and throughout the seventies but the experience forced Cline to traverse other avenues for the sheer sake of his survival. If Cline was having a hard time being accepted for who he was, he learned to become “someone else”. Realizing that people were drawn to TV characters for entertainment, Cline emulated the antics and expressions of the characters on popular sitcoms of the day, Cline began getting attention by impersonating Gomer Pyle, Barney Fife, characters from Green Acres and the like; and he got good at them and that got noticed. He became the class clown which consequently taught him the art of misdirection. Cline had made himself into an entertainer but entertainers need props and props were expensive so he learned to make them out of whatever he could get his hands on.
Cline’s “handicap” opened doors for his many artistic endeavors over the decades and he is now recognized as one of the worlds best sculptors of fiberglass figures. Cline is the builder of many attractions including Professor Cline’s Time Machine, Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum, Foamhenge, the Lexington Ghost Tour, Dinosaur Kingdom, and Dinosaur Kingdom II. Over the years he has built hundreds of dinosaur statues, including thirty for his own Dinosaur Kingdom and nineteen for Dinosaur Land in White Post, VA, the park that inspired him to sculpt. Cline’s work appears in attractions across Virginia, including a concentration of works in and around Natural Bridge, where he works out of Enchanted Castle Studios. His studio appears in the book Weird Virginia and the Roadside America books and website.
He often displays creations on April Fools’ Day. Foamhenge was unveiled on April Fools’ Day 2004.
Cline is frequently referred to as the “Blue Ridge Barnum” and premiered a record-breaking show in 2012 at the Taubman Museum of Art. An independent film about Cline, Barnum of the Blue Ridge, is currently under production.
In his own words, “I couldn’t swear that I’m not nuts, naive—yes. Looking back, I have to wonder what was going on in the head of a 19-year-old who thought he could just go and open a monster museum and make a living at it. I had no training, no business sense, no connections, and no money. But I did have enthusiasm and lots of it. The ‘talent’ was raw but the sincerity was—and still is—genuine.”