Tracey Gaan was born into a family of artists. Her father is a well respected industrial designer, and her mother, an art specialist for the Bellevue school district. Art has always been a huge part of Tracey’s life. She won her first art contest at age five with two sculpture entries at the Bellevue Art Fair. After this she continued to enter and win many local, state, and national competitions. Tracey’s style has always leaned to the contemporary. It usually includes the subject matter of animals. She grew up both around horses and dogs and began training and showing dogs at the age of nine. By age twelve, she was nationally ranked as an obedience competitor including multiple High in Trials. Shortly thereafter, she got the bug for conformation training and showing. This is where she learned structure and movement. She was blessed in having the opportunity to work with and for many of the Nation’s top breeders and handlers, where she was taught how to bring out the best in an animal’s structure and how to hide their faults. She learned grooming and training techniques that helped enhance quality and hide flaws. This also helped build her knowledge of structure and movement. With the knowledge learned from these generous breeders and handlers, Tracey was able to finish countless championships within many different breeds and go on to put national rankings on many of them. She found that this knowledge also lent very well to the equestrian world, and finally to the animals found in the wild.
Tracey was fortunate to grow up in a school district that encouraged her art. She remembers her high school art and design teachers well. She is especially grateful to one teacher who challenged her to reach out of her comfort zone and try new techniques and mediums. She was then able to hone in on her favorite, which is bronze casting. She went on to get her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Washington. She then took a break to earn money for graduate school.
Art took a back burner while Tracey attended college. She got married and had two children. Then she hit a very pivotal point in her life when she lost her sight. Her ophthalmologist performed a few different surgeries over a couple of years. Through artificial lens implants and a few other surgeries, she had her sight restored. Tracey now realizes how valuable her vision is and has a renewed respect and passion for her artistic gift. She would like to say thank you to her ophthalmologist for restoring her sight.
Tracey’s artistic style is very contemporary. She enjoys taking a subject and giving it a voice through exaggerating certain characteristics. She feels this gives her work a sense of humor. “If art is too serious it feels stiff to me”. Most animals have playful moments that show their personality and humor. I think this accentuates their strength and beauty.” Tracey currently lives in the Puget Sound area with her husband and two children. Her zoo changes frequently, but consists of two Friesian horses, two Doberman Pinschers, and a Boxer. Look for her work in galleries around the nation and British Columbia. She is also a member of the National Wild Life Museum.