Iris Sutton Biography
I am a mom, painter, and farmer living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I love learning about science, the environment and especially wildlife. My paintings explore the natural landscapes and animals of Alaska with vibrant color and are large-scale sometimes up to four or five feet long. My paintings are inspired by my trips on foot, by dog team or car around Alaska. I enjoy sharing my work with friends, family and the larger community.
Growing up in rural areas of Alaska has been a huge inspiration as well as given me a strong understanding of the wildlife, landscape and ecology. My family lived on a remote homesite in interior Alaska and traveled to a commercial/subsistence fish camp for summers. Later we also lived in Manley Hot Springs and Nome. Over my lifetime I have seen many changes, from salmon numbers drastically declining, to melting permafrost and increases in temperature and wildfire. My goals with my art are to inspire a love and respect for the natural world, to inspire children to explore, learn and experiment with art and nature themselves. I am a strong believer in the idea that people will protect what they know and value. Painting is a way for me to share my love for the natural world with others; those that can visit natural spaces as well as those that cannot.
In another part of my life, I am a farmer providing fresh, local, organic vegetables through community shared agriculture in the summer. My family and I raise goats for milk and manure, and chickens for eggs for ourselves. We try to minimize commercialism and buy things locally and make them last. My two children have grown up on the small farm and understand much of the workings of an organic farm and know much about plants and animals. They also have extensive knowledge of the natural environment and the value of protecting it.