Art and Illustrations by Amy H. Robinson

This is the first of a number of posts I plan to do on the individuals whose art has influenced my work, or who simply made an impact on me in my life.  This one features the first real live artist that I can remember.

*****

When I was little, my Dad had a good friend named Gary Kremen.  (It is troubling to me that he shares the name of another Gary Kremen who apparently started some sex hustling type publication.  I did not read enough about him to find out.)

This Gary Kremen wore open shirts and had chest hair.  He also had kinda bushy hair on his head.  And twinkling blue eyes.  I did not know much about him really, but I liked him.  My sister always teased that I had a crush on him, but I was too young for that.

During one phase of my life, probably around age 8, he lived with my Dad and had a studio in the house.  There was abundant light.  He painted with oils, and he would tolerate my sister and I perching behind him and watching him work.

Everything he did was very realistic.  I remember being fascinated by how well he could capture water.  Many ocean scenes.  His older work was all of airplanes.  There are a bunch of his paintings in a downtown bar, F Street Station.  I love going there because I know my Dad and Gary used to hang out there in the 1980s.  It makes me feel a part of something.

He did one painting of a shipwreck that my Dad has always had.  Perhaps I can get him to take a picture so I can post it another time.

Unfortunately, I could not find a lot of Gary’s work online.  He may be most famous for making the world’s longest painting, approximately 62 feet long, of Prince William Sound.  I remember when it was a work in progress, he painted a butterfly (bird?) on it for me.

He lived in a house in downtown which is right next to the Captain Cook boardwalk/deck thing overlooking the Inlet.  And his studio gallery was where Snow City is today.

When he lived with us, my sister and I wanted to drum up business for him, so we made up posters and wore them on the front and back of ourselves and walked around the neighborhood.  They all said that a real artist lived with us, and that they should follow us home to see his work.

I wish Gary were still around.  He passed away in 2001.

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19 Responses to “Influences :: Gary Kremen”

  1. Paula Hammond

    have a signed lithograph “I Destiny” Does anyone know where I can sell it?

    Reply
  2. Ray Agen

    Hi, My wife and I knew Gary from working on his old 72 Ford pickup. We traded work on his truck for prints and paintings. I am looking to sell, don’t have the room now, the plane Set all #5/300 for sale. I also have the full set of Prince William sound but have it loaned to my son. I think it is set 5/300 all same number. I also have an early oil painting of Gary’s that he had framed for me and just the painting not counting the frame is 29″ tall, 39″ wide. It’s a sunset picture from a beach looking up the cliffs and out to sea, in orange hues. Make an offer. My favorite was the Destiny boat going to be grounded. I have print 180/300 and wanted to by the original when he had it at a showing at the house on 4th and L. But I didn’t have an extra $2500.00 at the time. Wonder where the original is now? We were always invited to his showings. I always enjoyed Gary’s company and wine tastings. He was an interesting and fun guy. So sad to hear of his passing.

    Reply
  3. Craig

    It was summer of 1985 I was spending 3 weeks at the Air Force Base for the IL Air Guard. I was 18 and walked down town to see what there was to see. I spent many hours looking at the Art gallery enjoying the art , Gary said hello we talked I told him I was visiting from IL and in the Air Force he was touched and gave me a print and signed it for me, Espesially to Craig and the IL Air National Guard. It is the Evening’s Solace Mt. McKinley print. I Love that print and am greatful for him giving it to me. That was one of my highlights of my trip to Alaska. I am thinking to come back to Alaska on a trip with my wife, will be her first time to Alaska my second thats how I found this blog , looking to find how Gary is doing would have looked him up to say Hi. Warm Thoughts and Best Wishes sorry for your loss . When ever I think of Alsaka I think of Gary and how nice he was to me and his kindness I did visit Mt. McKinley while in Alaska and now in IL I can look at my Print from Gary and its like a little escape back to Alaska in my mind..

    Reply
  4. Sandee Fischlin

    I am Sandee Fischiln, Gary Kremen’s sister, and I would be glad to answer any of your questions that you may have about my late brother. He was very talented and hard to believe that he has been gone over 12 yrs. now. His artwork lives on. I also have some of his prints of some of his originals that he did if anyone is interested. You may contact me at: schneby1@comcast.net. Thanks so much for appreciating his talents.

    Reply
    • walter

      Hi, my name is Walt, I’m just now getting a chance to reply to your comment through “the ladylark “blog, I’m the one who had a mother that knew Gary, she bought the eagle head and when she passed she left it to me, I’m not much of an art collector but she did leave me a few nice peices and this one is awsome, my wife loves it as much as I do, it’s hands down both our favorite. I’m in upstate NY and not many people seem to know of Gary Kremen’s work I would like a ball park of it’s value ‘ I don’t beleive it ever went to print like alot of his work did . I will send a few pics if you can e-mail me directly, at”” walterstpierre@yahoo.com ,I can’t seem to send pics through this system and transposeing your e-mail does not work, I admit I’m not to swift on the computer and I do not have twitter, facebook or any of the other communicating systems the world has seemed to come to depend on,,,,, thanks for any input you may have,, Walt

      Reply
    • Candy McDaniel

      I knew your brother back in the early 80’s. I actually dated him for a while. What a wonderful man he was. For my birthday he gave me a beautiful print unnamed but he signed it happy Birthday Candy. Another friend of mine bought from Gary a print called Wonder Lake at Mt McKinley, especially for Candy. My Mother has more. I’m sorry to hear he is not with us any more. My best wishes to you and your family. I will never forget him.

      Reply
  5. Bobbie Taylor

    I also have two original oils by Gary Kremen. One is very large and depicts the tidal/mud flats, a river and mountains. The colors are very different, deep dark greens, purples and some blues and is stunning. The other is clouds over high mountain peaks in pinks, corals and blues and is also very beautiful. My mother purchased them sometime in the 80’s. She also observed him working on at least one of the paintings…as I remember. At that time Gary had a studio in the back of first house next to the Capt. Cook monument (on the bluff). I remember him as quite the charmer. I wish I could find out the value on them for insurance purposes. Does anyone know of an appraiser that might be familiar with his work?

    Reply
      • walter

        I’m finally receiving these comments, I’m not much when it comes to the communication on the net thing,,I also would still like more dialog reguarding this eagles head oil painting I have, I’m not seeing a way to send a pic through this ((reply)), system, you have my email I would love to see the pics the other commentor referred to, Thanx,,,,Walt

    • Sandee Fischlin

      Hi Bobbie, I am Gary’s sister, Sandee. I would be glad to answer any of your questions that you may have. I am on Facebook and have some of his photos posted.
      My best, Sandee Fischlin

      Reply
    • Sandee Fischlin

      Bobbie……….I am Gary’s sister, Sandee Fischlin. If you have any questions pls feel free to contact me. I also have additional artwork of his for sale in prints. It was nice to read all of these blogs today since yesterday was his birthday. Hard to believe that he passed away over 12 yrs. ago. Thank you for appreciating his talents. I miss him dearly. schneby1@comcast.net

      Reply
  6. Kevin Carroll

    i was online searching for a painting by gary – when i was in my 20’s i stopped at a stand in a mall in anchorage that gary kremen had set up. he had a print of a boat headed for the rocks – destiny was the name of the boat.
    i had no money in those days for art or much beside food and clothing still loved the print and still have the card he gave me
    after 30 years still regret not having enough spare cash to buy that print
    don’t suppose you know of anywhere i might find a copy? thanks either way

    Reply
    • Amy H. Robinson

      Hey! I’m so glad you like his work.

      Interestingly enough, my Dad has the original of that painting. Please comment back or email me if you’d like to discuss it further.

      Either way, I appreciate you sharing your memory here.

      Amy

      Reply
      • walter

        My mother had a ladies apparrel shop on 4th ave, (Adams Rib ), it was kitty corner to the Captain Cook hotel,. Now the new court house entrance is exactly where my moms shop entrance used to be.. She knew Gary Kremen and loved his work, she particularly fell in love with a large eagle head he painted. this was during the period of time he set up a small studio in the Captain Cook,down the hall from Sue’s Custom Knits, , (A little Alaskan Sweater shop that was there as long as I could remember), She watched the progress of the painting over a period of time and upon completion fell in love with it although our family was not well off this was something she had to have and made payment arrangements and got it, I wish I could remember the the year, I think it was right around 1981 , maybe a little later, but one christmas it showed up over the fireplace in her home, it stayed there until her passing in 2001, I’m the youngest of 5 and it has been left to me, although my mother never had it framed in the 20 or so years she owned it I immediatly framed it in a off white antique ,(looking), ornate frame , this really brought out the whites in the eagle head, I’m aware that many if not most of Gary Kremen’s art was printed, this is an original that has never been printed, (I beleive due to the unique circumstances of the purchase) the painting is completly captivating and wonderful, I’m trying to find out the value, any help would be appreciated, If you respond I could send a pic, it sounds as if you could appreciate seeing this one of a kind KREMEN, My wife absolutly loves it , she wasn’t as happy with my choice of frame as I am but we worked through that until we can afford another, ( they’re not cheap you know), thanks for listening,,,Walt and Kim

    • Sandee Fischlin

      Kevin, I am Gary’s sister and we do have prints of my late brother’s artwork. I will see if we have one of Destiny. I am glad to hear that you appreciated his artwork. He would be pleased to know that. You may reach me at: schneby1@comcast.net or I am on FB under Sandee Fischlin.

      My best,

      SF

      Reply
      • Amy H. Robinson

        Sandee, thanks for your comments! I hope to “friend” you as well. I’m so glad you found this space and commented. We sure loved Gary. -Amy

      • Paula Hammond

        I have a print of Destiny with a certificate. Is anyone interested in this please? Trying to raise money to get my son to college. I can email pictures Thanks

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