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Dan McArdle

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I make art to connect people to their wilderness. My joy comes when someone feels that lightning bolt upon viewing my carvings, like we’ve both been to that same spot on the river, dreamy in the morning glare. Like they understand me and I understand them through a shared experience recreated.

Right now is a really happy time in my studio. I am discovering thin watery wood dyes and loving the interaction with wood. Wood that has been hand cut by a steel blade and soaked in layers of interacting color, partially removed with move carving, rewetted with watery color. Creating on the edge of control, loving the risk and the reward.


About Dan

I grew up just outside of NYC in the 1970’s and 80’s, where I became intensely focused on drawing. Drawing became a portal that allowed me to explore all that I couldn’t actually experience. It was through luck and parental wisdom that I ended up attending a Waldorf School, where I was able to integrate drawing into everything. My teacher and mentor was a master of the blackboard, using colored chalks to illustrate his learning journey for 8 years.

I attended the Art Students League in New York City, where I took life drawing classes as a young adult. It was during this time that I began to reject the urban environment as an inspiration for my work. I bought a $100 beater truck and headed to Missoula in 1991. I earned a BA in Botany from the University of Montana. No more art for a while. It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I began reviving my dormant artistic side. By then, I had developed my woodworking skills through house carpentry, cabinetry and door making. I also met my wife, Heather McRee, who remains a loving and supportive partner. Thanks to Heather, my two creative passions coalesced in my current work. My wife and I have called Helena home since 2002. We live here with our 2 children, Willa 14 and Finn 10.