Artist Profile

Dawn Gerety

Story by Anna Mason

Whimsical colors, dotwork and swirls create animals, landscapes, and other Alaskan scenes on Dawn Gerety’s canvases.

Sometimes those canvases can get really big, like the Sitzmark Bar + Grill ceiling in Girdwood (that took 18 gallons of paint), but Dawn does the majority of her work on a smaller scale. Using acrylic paint, she creates art that embodies everything she sees in Southcentral Alaska, from bears, eagles, lynx and salmon to flowers, trees and mountains.

“Those things I put on the canvas are the things that surround me,” says Dawn. “My art is warm and welcoming and fantastical. It’s like an escape; people tell me it’s an escape for them and their kids love it. I like to make it a warm experience and takeaway.”

Raised in Anchorage and Girdwood, Dawn has been making art for as long as she can remember. As a graphic designer, Dawn made “logos and anything people wanted for art,” but what she really wanted was to “get away from computers.” And eventually, that’s what she did. About 10 years ago she plunged into sole proprietorship of her business Art Seriously – to devote herself fully to storytelling on canvas.

“(Painting) is a release for me and something I do for myself. My painting is very self-taught,” says Dawn. “When I make paintings, I don’t know if it’s cliche or not, but I like to story-tell through my images. Looking at the paintings from 10 years ago to now, the style has stayed very similar but I have improved a lot, and I think I’m very unique from other artists.”

Dawn is best known for her unique use of dots and swirls in her paintings – a sort of language all her own. The pieces speak volumes through a bright and playful style. While her background is heavy in computers and technology, her work today is completely tech-free. “I don’t use any computer graphics. It’s all fine art,” she says. “It’s very whimsical and not realistic, but it has a good reflection of contemporary life here.”

When asked to identify her favorite piece of artwork, Dawn is stumped for a moment: “A favorite...ooh, that’s hard. I have my own favorites, and then there are those that sell the best. I have a favorite obscure one of razor clams in the ground with bears digging on the surface. That one is so weird and unique, and it really reflects things I did while I was growing up, digging clams and seeing the bears, and I love it because it’s so unique and different.”

And that’s the beauty of her art: The scenes she portrays are all familiar Alaskan icons, yet they come to life in wildly inventive and colorful ways.

“My art is inspired by what I see and seems to resonate with everyone that lives here as well as tourists,” she says. “I make comfortable art; there’s no politics or agendas, it’s just comfortable and pretty. I appreciate all the collectors that have kept me going with their love of my work! I speak to school groups and other kids, and I tell them if there’s something they love, keep doing it. If you have something in your head, no one else has that and you should go out and create it to share it and bring it to life.”

See more of Dawn’s work at