Ryder Erickson was raised in the Alaska villages of Savoonga, St. Michael, and Unalakleet. He has a mixed heritage that includes Norwegian and Inupiat Eskimo, with his work reflecting aspects, themes, and objects from these rich cultures. He works primarily in acrylic paints, using bold colors and dream-like landscapes as a basis for expressing the beauty of northern Alaska and the way of life of those who reside in there. Like a true village-raised man, Ryder married his grandmother’s best friend’s daughter, Annette; they live with their three kids in Eagle River, Alaska.
ARTISTS STATEMENT: Growing up in rural Alaska, I was both captivated and intrigued by the amazing ingenuity and creativity of Natives who learned to thrive in such a harsh and varied landscape. The tools, weapons, and attire of the Native people have a very practical basis in their designs, making them as functional as they are beautiful; using my own style and colors, I attempt to demonstrate the simple beauty of these forms with acrylic paint. By painting these traditional implements in a modern way, I am hoping to recapture the same power and striking resourcefulness of the people of my heritage.