“Rain on the Parade”, © Ray Troll
I’ve long been enthralled by the grand and bizarre opulence of parades. As a child in Mobile, Alabama the local Mardí Grás made a huge impression on me. The Fourth Of July parade is always a big deal here in Ketchikan too but it always seems to miss the mark for me in representing what this strange and beautiful land called Alaska is all about. So I decided to do my own artist-biologist version of a “half small town Ketchikan, half big city Seattle” style parade. Several of my artist and musician pals can be seen in this gigantic charcoal dust drawing along with many of my favorite fish ( wolf eels, a sailfin sculpin, a grunt sculpin and a musically inclined red snapper). I’m in the lower left with a ratfish on my head. Farther back in the crowd is a Tlingit sculpin headdress as a kind of parallel presence. My wife Michelle and her good friend Hilary are in the drawing as well. I rubbed black charcoal dust all over a gigantic piece of white paper and drew the entire image with a kneaded eraser. My studio became a complete sooty mess and my lungs ached for weeks.