One of today’s leading painters of the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest, Bruce Aiken was born in New York City, where he was classically trained at the School of Visual Arts. As a young man, he left New York with a vision to find a more compelling muse. After arriving in Arizona in 1970, it did not take him long to discover the Grand Canyon.
Serving with the National Park Service from 1973 to 2006, he lived at Roaring Springs, some 5 ½ miles below the North Rim. There, he oversaw the production of the public water supply for Grand Canyon National Park. He and his wife, Mary, raised their three children in the Canyon’s depths, while he maintained a dual career as an artist and NPS employee.
Relentlessly curious, Bruce channeled his considerable energy into a life-long study of the Canyon, the Colorado Plateau, and the American Southwest. His library, field notes, sketches and journals are filled with his personal and perceptive insights ranging from botany to geology to human resource issues—the result of 40 years of keen observation and humble appreciation for the unique beauty of the region. It has been said that every artist paints his own autobiography. In the case of Bruce Aiken, the story of his soul is clearly discerned from his prolific output of nearly 400 paintings, drawings, pastels, and other forms of creative media related to his first-hand experience in the Grand Canyon. Many of his letters, documents, field notes and photographs will ultimately be housed in Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library Special Collections Archive.
His work has been shown and collected around the world in corporate and private collections, with special commissions from such prestigious clients as NASA and the White House, among others. Recent career highlights include a 2011 retrospective exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona, and the 2007 publication of his award-winning coffee table book, “Bruce Aiken’s Grand Canyon – An Intimate Affair.” His extraordinary life and career have also been documented by such media outlets as the History Channel, the Disney Channel, ABC Good Morning America, CBS 48 Hours, People Magazine, and National Geographic Magazine.