Jerry Laktonen is one of only a few Alutiiq carvers of his generation, best known for his masks and paddles. Born in Alaska, he has been strongly influenced by the traditional carving of his Alutiiq ancestors. After his fishing career failed to provide adequate income to support his family, he turned to carving in the early 1990s. While he had no formal art training, his experience in repairing fishing boats gave him a foundation for further developing his talents with wood. His ancestors used driftwood for their carvings; Jerry prefers to use old-growth cedar. Adhering to Alutiiq tradition, he paints his intricately detailed pieces in vivid colors. He strives for technical accuracy and cultural authenticity in his work, drawing on countless hours of study of museum pieces and photographs. Jerry holds the strong conviction that his “knowing” of ancestral presence ultimately inspires his carving.