Kevin Cranmer

Kevin Cranmer NAMGIS / KWA-GULTH artist Kevin Cranmer was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, but has lived all but four years of his life in Victoria. Kevin's first artistic experiences came as a small boy when he would accompany his father to Tony Hunt's original Arts of the Raven Gallery. It was during these times, watching his father and other artists at work, that the seeds of interest were planted that would lead to the many artistic endeavours that would follow. His first formal instruction came under the tutelage of his cousin George Hunt Jr. After a time, Kevin approached master carver Tony Hunt to further his understanding of traditional Kwa-Gulth design. During his time with "Raven Arts," Kevin observed and worked alongside such renowned artists as Tony Hunt Sr., Tony Hunt Jr. and Calvin Hunt. His first carvings consisted of smaller pieces such as plaques, rattles and figures before progressing to masks, feast dishes, model poles, etc.

Kevin's introduction to larger monumental sculpture began when he first started to work alongside renowned Nuu-chah-nulth artist Tim Paul in Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Working in the park had special meaning to Kevin, since Thunderbird Park was first started by Mungo Martin, one of the most accomplished Kwa-Gulth artists of his or any other time. Martin was also a relative, having been married to Kevin's great-grandmother, Abayah. Kevin's credits include several large cooperative projects: a 40-foot totem pole that stands in Stanley Park, Vancouver. A 30-foot pole on display at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and a 36-foot pole carved for the closing ceremonies at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Kevin has been initiated as a Hamatsa, the most important of the complex dance societies of the Kwa-Gulth. In becoming a Hamatsa, Kevin has becoming increasingly aware of the role an artist plays in relation to the potlatch ceremony. The Cranmer family has a rich history of potlatching, the high standards of these ceremonies being set by Kevin's late grandfather Dan Cranmer. The greatest satisfaction Kevin gets from being an artist is creating pieces for family and the use of his work in ceremonies. So long as there is a need for such regalia, Kevin Cranmer will continue to strive to fill that need and grow and learn as an artist.


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