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WOOCS 2.2.6

Doug Cranmer


Doug Cranmer was born 1927 in Alert Bay, BC on Vancouver Island. Though he spent most of his early life logging and fishing, he also began to study carving under his step grandfather, Mungo Martin. However, it wasn’t until the late 50s that Cranmer became a full time artist when he moved to Vancouver to work with Bill Reid. Reid had invited him to help on a carving project commissioned by the Museum of Anthropology.

Cranmer was a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, but his work with Bill Reid exposed him to other Northwest coast styles, such as Tsimshian, Tlingit, Heiltsuk and Haida and earning him the reputation as an innovator.

He quickly broke with the established rules of the artform, challenging the norm. Cranmer explained that Bill Holm’s book An Analysis of Form, in which the author codifies the basic elements of Northwest coast art, led to many artists following the book to the letter. This meant that many of their work has come out looking similar, something that Cranmer wasn’t interested in doing.

Doug Cranmer sold his art internationally, but he wasn’t looking for worldwide success. To him, it was never about fame and fortune, or trying to sell himself. He followed his own path, even to the point of doing his art differently from everyone else, just for the sake of being different.

Cranmer became famous for his carving skills, but he was also adept at painting and printmaking.

Doug Cranmer passed away in 2006. He was nearly 80 years old.