“I paint Alaskan animals of the Twentieth Century.” Alvin Amason, who is Alutiiq, grew up in Kodiak, Alaska, but has journeyed beyond his native land, geographically and aesthetically.
“I’m glad I have my heritage, but I don’t want to rely on it. You see, culture just doesn’t work if it is put on a shelf, in a jar, in a museum. It is a living thing. Time goes on and cultural elements change.”
Amason received his MFA from Arizona State University.
He has lived in Rhode Island and Oakland, California feeling the professional challenge of being in the mainstream of American contemporary art. But Alvin is uncomfortable if he is away from Kodiak for too long. He begins to take himself too seriously. The sophisticated contemporary style reflects his education, by the humor and obvious endearment he holds for the images of Alaska are inspired by a childhood rich in warmth and simplicity.
Amason was raised catching fish, digging for clams and asking questions. “Papa, why do salmon jump?” He had asked a lot of people that but his grandfather’s answer made the most sense to him. “They jump to see where they’re at.” Alvin Eli Amason, like the salmon, returns to Kodiak regularly, jumping up out of the mainstream to ‘see where he’s at.’