Date of Press Release: Feb. 10, 2009
Ketchikan artist, naturalist, author, and musician Ray Troll is perched on a platform above a doorway in the University of Alaska Southeast Egan building. With an overhead projector, Troll projects images of salmon making their way up stream, or in this case, the outside of the staircase in the lower entrance to the newest building at UAS. Art students are carefully painting the scales on the fish as a singer songwriter softly emanates from a portable boom box. Troll has successfully brought the atmosphere of his Ketchikan home loft studio to the Juneau UAS campus.
Photo Caption: UAS Art Student Jenny Reed painting projected image by Ray Troll
“It’s really meditative,” said UAS painting student Jenny Reed, one of several student volunteers on the project. “Students can actually have a hand in a really important public art work at the place where they go to college, working side by side with an incredibly distinguished artist like Ray Troll who is also a really fun guy,” said UAS art faculty Jane Terzis.
“It’s a full scale illustration,” Troll quips in his well-known fashion. Troll’s colorful pun art is T-shirt and refrigerator magnet legend in Southeast, i.e., ‘Spawn Till You Die,’ which he has said would “make a nice epitaph for my tomb stone.”
Later, Troll will add a wave background to the UAS stairwell. Troll made his first transparencies of his trademark “fishy” designs in 1993 for a mural at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. Troll’s murals grace public spaces and schools from California to Washington D.C.
Troll will be at the Auke Lake campus all week, working on two of three projects commissioned by UAS: the salmon on the staircase and a 12 foot wide humpback whale mandala mural on an upper wall. Later this spring, he’ll install a 20 foot high canvas painting of salmon swimming through old growth forest on a lower concrete wall. He’s been working on the piece in his Ketchikan studio.
Troll was on hand when UAS graduated its first B.A. in Art student in 2008; he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Alaska Southeast at graduation ceremonies in Juneau and Ketchikan.