Bob Magee is a life-long resident of Hammondsport, NY. He attended San Miguel de Allende, Mexico after graduating High School in 1971, studying art and photography for the summer. He then attended Edinboro State College and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelors in Art Education.
Bob started his art career as an Art Teacher in Geneva in 1978. He switched careers after filling the high school coach's request to print football uniforms. He opened Empire Graphics in Hammondsport in 1983, designing and printing t-shirts, decals, hats and more. His designs were mainly requests from local tourist businesses and corporations like Corning Glass, The Curtiss Museum, Bully Hill Wine, Taylor Wine, Pleasant Valley Winery, Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellar, and Heron Hill, to name a few. But he also had many designs of his own. He owned a business in the Hammondsport square called "Me and Bobby Magee,” as well as had a successful summer business at The Windmill for 10 years. His t-shirts have been sold in every state of the union and 8 European countries, including Russia. He was instrumental in designing a NY "51st State, West NY" T-shirt design in 1992. He also had a short bit of 'fame' with Stephen Speilberg when he designed and advertised an "ET" saterical T-shirt based on Speilberg’s ET movie, in Rolling Stones Magazine. The idea sold extremely well until a phone call from Mr. Speilberg's attorney resulted in an agreement to stop marketing the shirt.
Bob was a member of local town boards, including working as the Town of Urbana Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer for many years.
He was instrumental, along with several local Hammondsport locals, in establishing the annual Genundowa Celebration which took place every Labor Day Weekend for years. Genundowa, or Festival of Lights, is an adaptation of an ancient Seneca Native Indian celebration. This celebration had lost most of its original meaning and came to signify a night to celebrate the end of summer, and closing of seasonal cottages with fires and flares. Genundowa in Hammondsport was created to restore the celebration to its original meaning so as not to lose the rich history and local influences of the Native Americans. It brought Native American singers, dancers, drummers, storytellers and artists to the area as well as 1000’s of visitors each year.
Bob created many local works of art through his exceptional photography. He spent hours scouring the area always on the look out for that one amazing shot. He was also a professional photographer for NASCAR at Watkins Glen International Raceway.
Bob still lives and resides in Hammondsport, NY. He was an avid hunter, fisherman and snow skier. He has lived in the world of artistry and creativity and through his talents and abilities has made the world a much better, beautiful place. He fought for what he knew was right for the place he calls home and fought to preserve the beauty of Keuka Lake for the next generation. Anyone who knows him personally will recall the humorous stories he’s told over the years about many of his adventures.