A fascinating artist whose work I've purchased several pieces of.
Last year I had begun making a documentary of his work and life.
Filming him work and talking with him.
I was at a Halloween party with him last year filming it at Visionaries and Voices (the art studio for artists with learning disabilities that Anh and I have been involved with).
His father was the last full-blood chief of the Mohawks and used to appear as a regular on the Roy Rogers show as "Thunder-Cloud."
Raymond was dressed in a clown suit at the Halloween party, but he wears a clown suit everyday of his life.
Read this for more info on him and his work:
Obituary: Raymond Thunder-Sky, artist
He wore a hard hat and any number of outlandish clown outfits, usually with ruffled Elizabethan collars. He carried Magic Markers and drawing paper in a tool box and frequented construction sites.
Few knew Raymond Thunder-Sky's name, but he was a familiar figure around town for three decades. He was a shy, quiet, rotund man who, without ever intending it, became a Cincinnati icon.
Raymond Thunder-Sky died Thursday at his home, a resident home operated by the Catholic Care Corporation. He was 54.
His father was Richard Brightfire Thunder-Sky, the last full-blooded chief of the Mohawks. His mother was Irene Salatsky, the daughter of a Hungarian nobleman with ties to the Hapsburgs of Europe.
Although he never was formally diagnosed, his caregivers believed he had something akin to autism. This made it difficult for him to communicate verbally, but he made up for it by communicating through his artwork. And his themes were always tied to the never-ending cycle of demolition and construction.
Wherever the Cincinnati skyline was changing, Raymond would be there, drawing the scene in electric colors, creating the world the way he thought it should be, replacing ordinary buildings with Clown Suit factories, Card Trick manufacturing facilities and Native American freeways.
His ability as an artist was discovered only a few years ago, when a couple of caseworkers with the boards of mental retardation and developmental disability for Hamilton and Butler counties launched a program called "Art Thing," which later evolved into "Visionaries and Voices." The idea was to showcase the art some of their clients were creating. Raymond was one of the first Art Thing artists. In the first Art Thing exhibit in Over-the-Rhine in 2001, he sold four drawings for $100 each. His work later was exhibited in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.
He is survived by a brother, Michael. Services: 11 a.m. Thursday, Arlington Memorial Gardens. Other arrangements pending. Neidhard-Gillen Funeral Home, Mt. Healthy, is handling arrangements.
Publication Date: 10-30-2004 (david wecker/ the cincinnati post)
Native American Burial Services will be held at Arlington Cemetery on Compton Road near Mt. Healthy on Thursday November 4th at 11:00 AM. For directions to Arlington Cemetery phone 521-7003. Memorials can be made to the Raymond Thunder-Sky Fund through 5/3rd Bank, Melissa McCarthy of ARC of Hamilton County contact person phone: 821-2113.
For more information contact Bill Ross - cell phone 476-5629 or Visionaries and Voices Gallery at Essex Studios at 2515 Essex Street in Walnut Hills.
Raymond has also been a member of Base Gallery in Over the Rhine since 2000.