Welcome to Scanlon Gallery in the beautiful city of Ketchikan, Alaska!
We aim to use this blog as a way to tell you the stories about our talented Alaskan artists and makers, our exciting custom framing projects, and our day to day goings on in this wonderful gallery that we take so much pride in.
Without further ado, we'd like to introduce you to our very first artist spotlight- Alaskan artist V Rae!
We don't have a favorite artist because obviously they're all our favorites! But she MAY just be our funkiest artist. You may recognize V Rae's work because...well...it's pretty recognizable. Her unique use of negative space and striking color on a white surface makes her work stand out. If you've ever come into the gallery- you've probably noticed how long and perhaps football field-esque it is. Despite that, you've probably found yourself drawn all the way to the very end of the long space because of these bold images staring you down from the moment you enter the door. These, friends, are the masterpieces of the one and only V Rae.
As a self-described "color junkie," she paints what she call Freestyle Expressions. Often in the form of animals, (though sometimes flowers, a tidepool, a wave, etc.) her bold portraits each take on individual personas that make them feel more like a beloved story book character than just an animal face. Only adding to each character's personality is the narrative that V writes about each and every piece- sometimes a poem, sometimes a personal anecdote. These narratives tell a story about the creature that is staring into your soul from the white background. Take "Frank" for example (Frank is her husband's name, by the way) or "Shotz" the otter.
"I married an octopus. His name is Frank. He’s an intelligent problem solver with an extraordinary sense of touch; so extraordinary he can taste what he touches, which also makes him a creative chef. He’s strong and self assured, but not aggressive. When he senses discomfort on the incoming tide he disguises himself in camouflage, or mimicry, as the source of the threat floats by totally unaware of his presence…usually at art fundraisers. His secondary defense is a stage-left bolt behind a cloud of dark ink. Really. At stuffy social events I’ve seen Frank literally blend into bottom sand and drift to the bar as swaying green kelp. But the best part is back home, wrapped in the tentacles of his love and suction tingling undulation adulation."
"Okay, as you can probably tell from the portrait, I enjoy an occasional Margarita...or two ;-)"
Get it now? V is not just painting animals- she's painting a story.
Now- we could just stop there and you would probably still think V Rae is super cool but! We haven't even got to the best parts yet. Have we mentioned that V creates her masterpieces from her Anchorage, Alaska, studio where she can observe moose, lynx, bears, owls, salmon, swans, and pretty much any cool Alaskan animal you can think of, right from her window?? That's right. She even created a YouTube channel where she shows off her own little personal Animal Planet. Many of her pieces, like Seymour (who also happens to be the official mascot of the city of Anchorage) are animals she can see and HAS seen from her studio window.
Can you imagine seeing this majestic lynx napping to some Norah Jones right outside your window? (skip to 1:03 to catch the moment where the nap takes over and prepare to say "Awwwww")
Ok now we could really stop there and you would think "Wow what a cool artist." But there is more still. In addition to being an artist extraordinaire, V Rae is an advocate for the creatures she so lovingly paints. Each year a portion of V's work is dedicated to wildlife preservation efforts in Alaska and Hawaii, as well as non-profit humanitarian outreach. She is also the Artist In Residence at the Alaska Zoo and Alaska SeaLife Center marine research and sanctuary.
V Rae's Freestyle Expressions can be found in a growing body of venues- from zoos, aquariums, national parks and galleries across the US including yours truly, Scanlon Gallery.
We carry a variety of V's large scale prints on metal and canvas. If you're looking for a smaller, more economical way to start your V Rae collection, we also carry her prints on paper. They typically run about 12"x18" and they come rolled in an easy to transport tube to protect the print- we have them on display at the gallery like this-
You can check out her catalog of work and learn more about V on our website here. If you're in Ketchikan, we invite you to come take a look at her beautifully bold body of work- a fair warning, however- flipping through her prints is known to induce intense feelings of happiness and inspiration. Other side effects include falling in love with every single one.
Can't say we didn't warn you!
Maria at Scanlon's