Tom Cramer

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Tom Cramer is an American artist working in Portland, Oregon. He is mostly noted for his intricately carved and painted wood reliefs.[1] Often called the unofficial Artist Laureate of Portland,[2] Cramer is one of the most visible and successful artists in the city. The influences on his work are both organic and technological. He is widely collected and is in many prominent west coast museum and private collections.[citation needed]

Cramer made a name for himself in the 1980s and 1990s becoming a bridge between historical Oregon artists like Clifford Gleason and Milton Wilson and the international influx of new artists to the city since the mid-1990s.

Since his schooling in the early 1980s at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, Tom Cramer has perhaps become Portland's most widely seen artist. An Oregon native, Cramer is a devout populist who has also experimented with what he has called "visual elitism". He's made custom-painted cars. He's carved sculptures and wall reliefs He's done gallery shows. He has explored a wide range of subjects, techniques and media. He even designed the set and costumes for James Canfield's 1995 dance "Jungle" at Oregon Ballet Theatre with a soundtrack by the Future Sound of London.[3]

Recently several trips to India, Egypt and Europe have expanded his base of influences.

Cramer went to the same high school as Gus Van Sant and appeared briefly in his feature film My Own Private Idaho.[citation needed]

In February 2016 the building on which the Machine mural was painted changed ownership and the mural became endangered. This sparked a community response to save the mural at a time when new developments were threatening sites throughout a city noted for its artistic personality.[4]


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