Where do you find art?

It may seem odd for an artist who paints to begin a discussion about art by talking about a photograph, but a recent conversation with a friend about a photograph made me think about the meaning behind The Art of Alaska.

The conversation began with a comment from the friend that I should do a painting based on a photographic image taken by my wife’s uncle.  My first reaction was agreement, but on further thought, it came to me that creating a painting from this photo would not have brought more meaning to the image, which had a story behind it.

The photo he was speaking of  was taken around 1950 in the Alexander Creek area, at the base of Mt. Susitna, across Cook Inlet from Anchorage, Alaska. My wife’s father, Reinhold Thiele, the son of a German immigrant and an Native Alaskan woman, had been injured while hunting spruce hens in this remote region of south central Alaska. His fathers instruction to his older brother; go to town to get the doctor.

Living in a remote region meant that the doctor was not around the corner, so big brother Otto strapped on his snowshoes, grabbed his rifle and began the 50-mile plus walk to Wasilla. Lucky for us he stopped along the way to snap this photo, leaving us with a story and a glimpse into their lives that we may not have had otherwise.

I could not hope to bring any meaning to this story by picking up a brush, Otto did that for us more than 60 years ago, it’s still his story and there is art in that story. As artists, we’re always looking for the art in life and we hope you find it in everything you see.

 

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