When I come back, I want to be Audwin Pierre McGee. I met Mr. McGee when I was down in The Shoals with Billy Reid and I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever met anyone cooler – although Billy gives him a run for his money. The fact that those two are friends, well that’s just like fishing with dynamite. In addition to being a big game hunter and artist, the man is a skilled craftsman and safari guide. He probably has twenty other job titles that I missed, he seriously is that talented. I met Audwin for the first time at an event Billy took me to in Tuscumbia. It was a chance meeting. We struck up a conversation and were fast friends. I think I could have talked to him for two weeks straight. The exchange jumped from art to interior design to hunting without skipping a beat. When does that happen? Almost never, at least for me. Eventually we started talking about the historic building we were in and as it turned out that Audwin and his wife lived right next door. I knew the place had to be cool, so I asked if he would let me check it out. Being the nice guy that he is, Audwin agreed and we wandered over drinks in hand.
Audwin’s loft is in a renovated historic building on a little Southern “main street.” The apartment makes up basically the entire second floor of the building. It’s a roomy space filled with taxidermy and old photos, but the thing that sticks out at you most is all of the wood. There is beautiful rich brown wood everywhere and apparently all of the restoration work was done by Audwin himself. That would make sense because I don’t think I could come up with anything the man can’t do. At the end of the long kitchen / living room is a big studio for painting and sculpture. I was dying to take pictures and was happy when Audwin didn’t mind. The only sad part was that I didn’t have my big camera (and that I had had a few drinks), but I think the photos turned out okay. The loft has a Garden & Gun feature written all over it – truly incredible.
A few months removed from my trip to Alabama, I hope to get back down there and hang with Billy and Audwin again. Or better yet, Audwin invited me on safari to the enromus game reserve he helps run in Mozambique. That could be cool too. And when I say “cool,” I mean that as one massive understatement.
On the back side of the apartment is an area that is a little rough like a work room. When we went through it I thought is was Audwin’s office, which prompted me to ask if that was the case. Audwin’s response politely steered me away from the idea that he is the type to have an office. I believe he called it a “work room.” I respect a man that doesn’t want people to think he has an office. Right out of frame of these photos is a giant garage door (keep in mind we are on the second floor) that opens to reveal the Alabama sky. It is a pretty awesome room.