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Ray Troll

“In the fall of 1997, I travelled a thousand miles down the Amazon River on assignment for Natural History Magazine with my buddy and co-conspirator Brad Matsen. Dr Kirk Johnson of the Denver Museum of Natural History arranged the river trip and filled the boat with several of his pals. I was so inspired by the incredible diversity of fishes and the experience that I wanted to do the main magazine illustration mural-sized. I stretched up a piece of canvas 7 feet by 15 feet and started painting.”
Ray Troll
Published in X-Ray Issue: 09 - Feb 2006
Authored by: | Photography: | Translation:
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Ray Troll, 51, was born in Corning, New York State, USA. His father was in the US Air Force, so his family moved quite frequently, perhaps eleven times as Ray grew up. His father moved the family to live in Japan and Puerto Rico. It was in Puerto Rico that Ray fell in love with the ocean.

“I was 10-13 years old, when we moved there from Pennsylvania and plunked down in a tropical island,” said Ray, “We lived in a house on a cliff right above the ocean. I’d hop over the fence and hike down to the beach, look at the tide pools and poke around at the fish.”

Ray always knew he would become an artist when he grew up. His art career started at age four or five when he would make his own creations with whatever materials laid around the house. He graduated from high school and college in Kansas and finished his graduate education in studio art and painting at Washington State University. Now, he works primarily with drawing materials, a lot of coloured pencil. Ray said, “It’s faster and easier to think with pencil.” But he likes to change medium now and then, switching from linoleum block prints to acrylics and back to drawing materials.

In 1983, Ray went to Alaska to work at his sister’s fish store on the dock for the summer. As he sold fish and handled them all day long, he started observing them carefully. Fish had always appeared in his artwork, but in a lesser role and rendered very stylistically. As the artist looked closer and closer at the fish he handled, the more interesting they became to him. And so did Alaska, where he still lives to this day.

Ancient fish
Ray said his first love in life was dinosaurs, like any five-year-old boy at the time. When he became interested in fish, he quickly realized that the material in books about ancient fish was minimal.
So, Ray visited museums and unexplored niches to find out

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Ray Troll