<--retour / back PERRY EATON  

Photographie : Clark Michler


Perry R. Eaton… a biographical sketch

Perry Eaton is an internationally shown Suqpiaq Alutiiq mask maker and black-and-white photographer. Growing up commercial fishing with his father in Kodiak, his career as an artist got its start when his parents enrolled him in painting lessons at age eight, hoping it would keep him out of trouble for a few hours a week.

After studying art and business at Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen, WA., and apprenticing as a machinist at Boeing, Mr. Eaton turned to banking as a profession. Returning to Alaska shortly thereafter, Mr. Eaton went on to participate in some of the most pivotal institutions in the state. He began at First National Bank Alaska, moved on to the Alaska Native Foundation and served as CEO of the Community Enterprise Development Corporation of Alaska (now known as Alaska Village Initiatives) for 17 years, traveling throughout the state to develop programs cultivating economic growth in rural towns and villages.

Mr. Eaton has served as chairman and member of the board of directors of many institutes, including the Aleut Institute, the Ahtna Heritage Foundation and the Alaska Humanities Forum. Mr. Eaton was appointed by George H.W. Bush to co-chair the Joint Federal-State Commission on Policies and Programs Affecting Alaska Natives.

Throughout his career in finance and economic development, Mr. Eaton continued to make art, specializing in black-and-white street photography and portraits of marine life. Among other galleries, his photographs have been shown at the International House of Photography and the Kremlin in Moscow.


Photographie : Clark Michler

Photographie : Clark Michler

Mr. Eaton’s experience in the arts and in projects management came together in 1999 when he became the founding President and CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, a center that showcases all of Alaska’s diverse Native cultures. After helping launch the Native Heritage Center, Eaton spent several years as Senior Corporate Advisor at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, retiring in 2008.

In the 1980s, a collection of Alutiiq masks at the Château Museé in Boulogne-sur-Mer transformed Mr. Eaton’s art. The French collection, gathered by the explorer Alphonse Pinart in 1872, gave unprecedented insight into a culture that had almost entirely disappeared since Western contact.

Mr. Eaton began traveling the world to study collections of Alutiiq masks and artifacts in Europe, Russia and Scandinavia. When a group of women in Kodiak began to revive Alutiiq dance it spurred him to create the masks that had accompanied the dances.

Mr. Eaton’s masks are strictly Alutiiq in style, construction and form, adhering to the basic types of birds, singing masks and effigies. In Alutiiq tradition, masks were made to be danced, and then sometimes burned. Accordingly, Mr. Eaton’s approach to mask making is that while masks can be viewed as works of art for display, they are first and foremost created as pieces of dance regalia.

Eaton’s masks have been shown around the world. He’s received the Alaska State Governor’s Award for the Humanities, is a 2009 USA Rasmuson Fellow and was appointed by President H.W. Bush to be a trustee of the Institute of American Indian Arts College.

Mr. Eaton lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska.

Perry Eaton in front of the Gallery ORENDA prior to the opening of his show on May 25th. (photo Nicolas Rostkowski)

Perry Eaton in front of the Gallery ORENDA prior to the opening of his show on May 25th. (photo Nicolas Rostkowski)

Photos therein are by Edward Curtis (Photo by Nicolas Rostkowski)

Perry Eaton dans son studio à Anchorage (Alaska). Août 2011. Photo Nicolas Rostkowski

Sculpteur Perry Eaton au Musée Château de Boulogne sur Mer en train de préparer le feu qui consommera son masque.
30 septembre 2011. Photo Nicolas Rostkowski et Le masque de Perry Eaton au Château Musée de Boulogne sur Mer qui ser
brûlée lors d'une cérémonie rituelle. 30 septembre 2011. Photo Nicolas Rostkowski

Le masque de Perry Eaton brûle dans la cour du Château Musée de Boulogne sur Mer. 30 septembre 2011.
Photo Nicolas Rostkowski