Established traditions meld with new medias to create a generational twist on heritage art with Ken Anderson’s newest show.
“They didn’t have lasers to etch glass art when this style was standard,” says Anderson of his eclectic mix of traditional style drawn, etched and shaped using new medias. “And now I’m taking the standard and bringing it into this life.”
Anderson draws heavily upon his cultural heritage to inspire and shape his art, echoing the old-style Teslin-Tlingit methods in contemporary mediums.
His current works represent a commitment to learning and experimenting with many different mediums. Etched glass mingles with traditional carved masks, hung next to photos of contemporary subjects. Each item reflects Anderson’s personal theme of perspectives, both of his life and of not keeping his art “contained in a box, static”.
There’s no reining in the ability to take the art of ancestors and show it in a new light. Anderson says he branched out as he developed as an artist: “I began my work in purely two dimensions, and then found I wanted to explore, see what I could create.
“Because I was known as an artist first, I was allowed freedom to be creative, sculpt, see what I could come up with,” he says.
He credits the supportive art community in the Yukon with his progress as an artist, because it gave him permission to try new things, while still maintaining his integrity as a professional artist.
Primarily self-taught, Anderson relies on the learning process to keep his work fresh, and, as he says, “always evolving, both as an artist and through art forms.” His works are as diverse as his influences, and he mentions studying the masters to develop his powerful technique and form.
Anderson creates not simply to display, but to have art available for others to view and make suggestions. It’s the process that interests him, the rich feedback the art world offers to improve his skills.
“With the photography pieces, I’ve already heard back from other photographers. It’s a never-ending learning process, and I think I take on new and unusual mediums so I can keep that process going,” Anderson says.
He is not tied to any one medium, and remains appreciative of his drawing background, which allowed him to move easily into three-dimensional art, like sculpture: “I see some artists who carve, and all they want to do is carve — but when they do start drawing, they have a difficult time of it,” says Anderson.
To further his experiential learning curve, Anderson enjoys taking on new challenges. He attempts new mediums and explores any that have potential to show his theme of personal perspectives and improve the evolution of his abilities.
His next project may involve sculpture with metals and he is contemplating a group show with Whitehorse artists in a local gallery.
Anderson’s show, Multimedias, runs until June 30 at the Copper Moon Gallery, 3 Glacier