For more than two decades, Ray Troll has been luring, hooking, and landing fans around the world with his zany, irreverent, and often surreal art. Featured in museums, galleries, and books, as well as on immensely popular T-shirts, his work – part natural history adventure and part underground comic – depicts beautiful and accurately drawn fish of all kinds, Northwest Coast totems, Freud and Darwin, fossils, resurrections of extinct animals, and much more.
Rapture of the Deep collects some of Troll's best-known art along with many images never before published. Rapture of the Deep makes powerful connections between biological diversity, the evolution of life on earth, and the careless habits of people. Rapture of the Deep celebrates Troll's vision with legendary works including "Spawn Till You Die," "Life's a Fish and Then You Fry," and "Bassackwards," in which fish use money, liquor, and literature as bait to lure humans. Troll's running commentary reveals the thought and inspiration behind his art. Writer Brad Matsen, Troll's longtime coconspirator, adds a lively introduction to the art and life of his "sole" brother.
Introduction: Brad Matsen
The Art of Ray Troll
Stream of Consciousness
Dancing to the Fossil Record
Fish Storm on the Amazon
Sharks and Their Relatives
Ray Troll's art has been featured on the Discovery Channel, in dozens of magazines and newspapers, and in galleries and museums such as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the California Academy of Sciences. He has created and illustrated several best-selling books, including Sharkabet: A Sea of Sharks from A to Z (a2002); Life's a Fish and Then You Fry, a cookbook by Randy Bayliss (2002); and, with Brad Matsen, Raptors, Fossils, Fins and Fangs (1995); Planet Ocean: A Story of Life, the Sea, and Dancing to the Fossil Record (1994); and Ray Troll's Shocking Fish Tales (1993). His nexat book, Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway, with text by paleontologist Kirk Johnson, will be published in 2005. He lives in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Brad Matsen is an author, documentary screenwriter, and photographer whose books include Incredible Deep-Sea Adventures (2003); The Shape of Life (2002); Fishing Up North: Stories of Luck and Loss in Alaskan Waters (1998); and his three previous collaborations with Ray Troll. He lives in Seattle and New York.
"Ray Troll's new book, Rapture of the Deep, has all the components of a steamy mystery-thriller: a struggle between good and evil, a full frontal view of an ammonite, a twisted plot exposing an evolutionary link between single-celled organisms and the modern cheeseburger. You'll find all the old favorites in this collection of his work – 'Humpies From Hell,' 'Spawn Till You Die,' 'Ain't No Nookie Like Chinookie.' Also newer ones – 'Weapons of Bass Destruction' – as well as works never before published, some having nothing to do with fish or nookie."
– Debra McKinney, Anchorage Daily News
"Strangely alluring, funny, and thought-provoking art of the fantastic and phantasms."
– Whitney Scott, Booklist
"No one does it better than Ray Troll, who dazzles and delights readers with his playfully irreverent drawings and paintings of fish, bears, ravens, fossils, and various maritime and riverine environments. The man is a master of the form, and I heartily recommend this one-of-a-kind book to anyone who loves nature or art, or both."
– John A. Murray, Bloomsbury Review
"A must-have book for any serious fan of the artist."
– Publishers Weekly
"A rich and extraordinary mixture of accurate depictions of marine life interleaved with wild fantasies [...] Startling and provocative."
– Maggie McDonald, New Scientist
"An artistic celebration of the marine world – or at least Ray Troll's version of it – a world in which fish are kings who use money and beer to catch humans in the deep sea. I'm not sure that's the kind of world I'd like to live in, but visiting it is a delight."
– Kieran Mulvaney, Conservation In Practice
"The most comprehensive collection of Troll's work yet, Rapture of the Deep dives into this artist's singular stream of consciousness and comes up with specimens of delights both whimsical and profound."
– Bellingham Weekly
"'Fish worship, is it wrong?' Clearly it is not in this marvelous book that assembles the largest collection by far of the art of Ray Troll. The wide and wildly creative landscape of Troll's talent is in full view here."
– John G. Lundberg, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
"I love this book. Ray Troll's art reflects a seductive merging of marine biologist, circuit-riding preacher, anarcho-syndicalist, and fish processor. Ray is a man who not only is in touch with his unconscious, he has also made friends with it and appears to periodically take it out for a burger, chocolate malt, and large fries."
– Milton Love, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara
"A wonderful book [...] . Rapture of the Deep sneaks a wealth of wisdom about art, nature, and the human condition into a package that will delight people from every walk of life."
– Kesler Woodward, artist and Professor of Art Emeritus at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks