What’s in a name?
You could say that it was fate, or destiny, or just the natural ability to do the right thing that caused Ray to move to Ketchikan in 1983. He moved north to help his sister start a seafood retail shop. In those early days he also spent time on the “slime line” at a fish processing plant (something of a prerequisite for Ketchiturians) and taught drawing classes at the community college. It was a time when the pulp and paper industry was winding down and tourism was on the rise – and the tourists (as well as locals, and folks all over the country) needed lots of t-shirts. That was over 2 million t-shirts ago.
Ray’s first major traveling exhibit, Dancing to the Fossil Record, opened at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in 1995. By the time the tour ended in 1999 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, it had grown to 14,000 square feet. He followed that tour with Sharkabet, a Sea of Sharks from A to Z. His latest touring show is Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway with Paleontologist Kirk Johnson, which is currently at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL (the schedule through 2013).
Today Ray is traveling all over the West Coast with paleontologist Kirk Johnson working on their new book, Cruisin' the Eternal Coastline: the Best of the Fossil West from Baja to Barrow. In 2011, Ray and Kirk received a joint grant in Science Writing from the Guggenheim Foundation to support this project. This is a follow-up to their last award-winning collaboration, Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-mile Paleo Road Trip.
A self proclaimed “paleonerd” he is fascinated by the amazing critters of the deep past: “buzz-saw” sharks, salmon over 12 feet long, hippo-like creatures along the US west coast, surprising saber-toothed creatures (salmon, squirrels, cats), and of course, the incredible array of dinosaurs.
Through his artwork he addresses the human condition and our place in the history of this planet with a sense of humor. Sometimes important work happens to be good fun too.
Ray’s books are available through the SoHo CoHo
Ray earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas in 1977 and an MFA in studio arts from Washington State University in 1981. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the University of Alaska Southeast. In 2007 he was given a gold medal for “distinction in the natural history arts” by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and in 2006 was given the Alaska Governor’s award for the arts. In addition to the Guggenheim Foundation grant, he also received Rasmuson Distinguished Artist Award in 2011. And last but not least, Ray has even had a species of ratfish named after him: Hydrolagus trolli. There are many more images and cool stuff to buy on Ray’s website: www.trollart.com.His artwork adorns the bags, t-shirts, mugs, posters and postcards at Raven’s Brew Coffee (and, of course, here at Deadman’s Reach) and he also illustrated the novellette Deadman's Reach: The World's First Coffee Inspired Supernatural Murder Mystery by John Straley. blog comments powered by Disqus