BIG RAPIDS – Rendering images into the smooth face of a stone, Russell Chatham has spent a lifetime perfecting the lithography process and creating works many find reminiscent of the Michigan countryside. Having already made a name for himself as an artist, Chatham and his renowned art will make their way to Ferris State University this September as the Rankin Art Gallery’s featured artist.
“Russell Chatham is a creator. He is not merely an artist, and believe me, just being an artist is challenge enough for most,” explained Rankin Art Gallery Director Carrie Weis. “Entrepreneur, designer, visionary, artist, writer, restaurateur and publisher are just some of the hats he has donned, and he is a man that has found success underneath each one.”
Chatham, of Montana, is a seasoned painter, printmaker and published author, having written hundreds of articles and short stories about fly fishing, bird hunting and conservation, and he has held nearly 400 one-man shows displaying his art during a career spanning 60 years.
Chatham will speak about his life and his work in addition to participating in a meet-and-greet as part of the educational and interactive components of the Ferris exhibit.
“I hope that the students who come to see his work will develop a greater appreciation for the process of lithography. I want them to see what hard work does – and I want them to interact with one of the very men who has really prospered from it,” Weis said.
The prints, on loan from the Muskegon Museum of Art, will be in the Gallery Sept. 7 through 30. Chatham will speak at 3 p.m. on Sept. 8, conduct a book signing at 4 p.m. on Sept. 9 and mingle with students during an Artist Reception at 5:30 p.m. in the gallery that same day.
“It’s not often that artists become famous within their lifetime or become self-supportive with their art,” Weis concluded. “I think that sometimes we feel like we’re in the middle of nowhere, where there isn’t much success – but there’s great success here, and I really want students to see that.”
For more information about the gallery or future events, contact Weis at (231) 591-2536 or visit www.ferris.edu/gallery.