Jeffrey, Ranja and M’Fanwy Dean
Jeff was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. From an early age, he has been inspired by beautiful and innovative things. His mother is a potter and his father was a wildlife biologist with a creative streak. When making artwork, his challenge is to distill and convey what inspires him in a clear and harmonious way. That is where the 99% perspiration begins. Whether modeling in clay or wax, carving in wood or stone, engraving steel or assembling different materials, he is guided by feelings he gets when seeing and touching the work at hand.
His work is inspired by the people, animals and things he sees around him. Inspiration also comes from found objects and compositions. All can lead to new ideas for artwork. New techniques, tools or methods of work develop in response to the needs of the current commission or project.
For Jeff, art is a natural extension of living. He loves the challenge of solving a problem or making something that others will enjoy and live with. It puts him in touch with deeper feelings and it is a means for interpreting, distilling, and conveying, both visually and tactilely, what cannot be seen or may otherwise be taken for granted. Much of his work is available in limited editions and commissions are also a large part of his business.
Ranja is self-taught. She has been making art all her life. From her earliest years there was art in her environment. Her father was an artist and a professor of horticulture and landscape design. He painted, wrote poetry and made the most artistic and amazing gardens.
In 1986 she married Jeff and that is when she first started stone carving and sculpting. Her education comes directly from her environment, her observations, her hands-on experiences, her love of life and her innate desire to create.
M’fanwy grew up with both parents being artists. So it was somewhat inevitable that she would become an artist herself. While over the years she has experimented in Metal, Stone, Fossilized Ivory, Graphite, and Watercolor, she has always loved woodcarving.
In her early teens Jeff gave her a set of Dockyard Macro Chisels and now she has acquired quite a collection–some of her favorite tools to use. In 2014, M’fanwy accidentally stumbled upon her current passion–carving intricate designs into an inked wood panel.
So she found the perfect fit between her love of carving, and her more recent interest in illustration and narrative art. When not hard at work in her Portland studio, she especially enjoys dancing.