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Arts and Entertainment

An urban Alaskan approach to traditional Native mask-making (+VIDEO)

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 29, 2016
  • Published August 29, 2012

There's room for debate over whether Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, is a trendy Mecca for hipsters -- but there's no denying that life on the edge of the wilderness inspires beautiful artwork. American Hipsters is a running YouTube series of vignettes that looks at, among other things, 10 trendsetting cities across the U.S. where hipster culture is blossoming. Surprise: Anchorage is among them.

Recently, the series featured Drew Michael, a 28-year-old Alaska Native artist living in Anchorage. Michael has recently gained renown for his masks, which he describes as a fusion of traditional Native and modern artistry.

Michael brings two distinct Alaska Native cultures -- Yup'ik and Inupiaq -- to his craft. Watch the video and learn more about how life in urban Anchorage has helped shape his perspective on an Alaska Native tradition.

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