Philip McCracken

(American, born 1928, died 2021)

Northwest artist Philip McCracken (1928-2021) created sculptures that explore natural, figurative, and abstract forms. He is known mostly for his bird and animal sculptures that also carry human and universal meaning. His artworks show the delicacy and strength that co-exist in nature. In his own words: "[sculpture] is where i found the best means of expressing what I thought was the best in me."

McCracken was born and grew up in Anacortes, Northwestern Washington on Puget Sound. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (1954) in sculpture from the University of Washington in Seattle. He interrupted his studies to serve as an army reservist for the Korean War. Income from spring commercial fishing and the G.I. Bill paid for his college education. After university, he studied with the sculptor Henry Moore in England. McCracken was honored with a Washington State Governor's Arts and Heritage Award in 1994. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Chicago Art Institute, and more. He had retrospectives of his work at Tacoma Art Museum in 1980 and at the Museum of Northwest Art in 2004. He lived and worked on Guemes Island in North Puget Sound, Western Washington, since 1955. When asked to name his favorite of his own artworks, he always answered "The next one."

You can watch a short video about McCracken's art practice made by the Washington State Arts Commission in 2008 with support from the American Masters Program of the National Endowment for the Arts.