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Shayla Sackinger grew up in Fairbanks. From childhood she was drawn to the avian world congregating on her family's property, as well as the fantasy world of online gaming. Then she started drawing. In her final year at University of Alaska Fairbanks where she's double majoring in art and Japanese studies, she combines those growing influences (as well as a hint of cartooning) in the lively pieces she creates. She tells her story in the latest installment of the Creating Alaska series.


“Birds have always been a constant. I live out in the middle of Goldstream, we’re in the middle of a swamp. We’ve got lots of ducks. We also get sandhill cranes. But I’m also a huge gamer. In high school it was half art, half games. I would draw during my classes, then at home I would game. Rinse and repeat.”

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David James is an Alaskan author and literary critic whose work has been published by the Anchorage Daily News, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Anchorage Press, Alaska Dispatch News, and Ester Republic. He is editing a forthcoming anthology of Alaska writing.


Jenifer Cameron, a professional artist and retired art teacher, took the time to discuss her life's work as she prepared to leave Fairbanks with her husband for their new home in Seldovia.

“Everybody is an artist. When you’re creating and you’re expressing yourself and making marks on a paper and engaged in the process, that’s what artists do. I believe everybody’s creative. Our brains are built to be creative and curious. It’s hard to not be.”

Read more here.
Kendell Macomber discusses aerial dancing,which she practices and teaches in Fairbanks, and her pathway into the Fairbanks professional dancing world, where she is a prominent contributor.

One day I saw aerialists, and I said, that’s the next level; I have to do that. So I got up in the air and haven’t looked back.”

Read more here.