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Every month, the Palmer Arts Council features and celebrates a different artist in our community! See previous artists here.

Featured Artist May 2024
Ray Gamradt

Born and raised in Montana, I spent the first quarter century of my life behaving properly. After graduating from college I moved to Alaska to chase the wildness, occupying the role of structural engineer during the day. Now I'm a bailed engineer-turned-artist; my days are filled to bursting between time spent with family, with community, in the mountains and in the studio. Whenever I lament that my website isn't more polished or that I've fallen woefully short of some social media benchmark (every single benchmark, actually), I see muddy footprints leading to my ice cream-coated little boys and I am reminded that living fully and behaving properly are likely to demand different destinations.

Find Ray's Work at

Website: https://www.raygamradtstudio.com/

Oar.jpg

Why the arts?

My life keeps getting funnier and funnier. Somehow, making a go of things on the open seas, navigating the absence of schedule and the imperative for adventure makes me happier on a molecular level than the safe structure I once knew ever could. And I keep experiencing this nagging suspicion that form and function can coexist.

What is your creative process?

I go out and experience vast wild places around Alaska, at a moment rejuvenating or exhausting, expansive or sucking or joyful. Sometimes the light strikes in just such a way that artwork arises. And, sometimes the idea doesn't take shape until much later and in much different circumstances... once, when watching the world go by from the front deck, there was one of those heinous leaf blowers screaming its obscenities into the neighborhood a hundred yards away. The low-angled sun was cutting through the dust and casting dancing shadows around the guy, and I remembered the same effect as when caribou were clicking through the fog of their breaths on a -10-degree morning. Aha. There's a piece hiding in there...

Statuesque.jpg

"Statuesque" by Ray Gamradt (36x24 in) - $4,500

LittleWalk.jpg

Why the Valley?

Palmer is a rare and honest small town, full of beautiful women and representative men with hair from wrist to ear. It's close to the trappings of Anchorage, but closer still to the mountains. And there are a bunch of people ready to make a thoughtful life of things. I feel lucky to live here.

 "Little Walk" by Ray Gamradt (14x14 in) - $800

Where can we see your work this year?

There is usually a piece or two teasing a wall at Vagabond Blues. Otherwise, my in-home studio remains invitingly though dubiously stocked, and anyone detouring through the galleries of Jackson Hole can stumble upon a concentration of finished works.

"Throne" by Ray Gamradt (24x60 in) - $7,000

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