Nik Carpenter

Nik, of Bridger, and his twin, Texas, were born in Roundup April 1, 1942, to Wayne and Donna (Fiske) Carpenter of Ryegate. From the early age of seven, Nik had an interest in creating images and could be found drawing horses on sandstone bluffs with charred willow. Growing up on the ranch along the Careless Creek in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains influenced Nik for the rest of his life. He attended the one room school in Franklin and alternated every other year with the school in Ryegate. He also attended one-room schools at Beehive and Dean.

After graduating from Absarokee High School, Nik worked his way to art school and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Education degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his Master’s degree from the University of Montana-Missoula. His works of art were shown and sold in many art shows including the C.M. Russell Art Auction, American Canadian Art Classic, the World’s Fair Expo ’74, and many group and solo shows.

Nik’s artwork was shown at Eddy Bauer, Wild Wings, Marshall Field, Quintana Gallery, Abercrombie and Fitch, and his work was collected by admirers throughout the world. Nik got a kick out of donating his artwork for fundraising events and he helped the Special K Ranch; he donated to the Chase Hawks Memorial Association; and he gave artwork to volunteer firemen, ambulance services and hospitals. Throughout his career he taught hundreds of kids and adults drawing, painting and printmaking at the Young Artist’s Studio in Chicago and with classes or workshops in Ryegate, Billings, Bridger, Nye, Roberts and Red Lodge. Nik was most interested in finding a new way to look at artwork and in the mid-nineties he invented his “Visions In Depth” series. These images created on multiple layers of anti-reflective glass entice the viewer to look deeper into a three dimensional space for a closer, more intimate experience. Nik’s exploration of this series ended with his death from IPF, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Nik loved to help his partner grow large gardens and then give bags of food to those without gardens. He was an exceptional cook who enjoyed shrimp stir-fry, Asian foods, baby back ribs and a fondness for dark chocolate. Nearly everywhere he went, he could be seen with a camera in his hand. He enjoyed visiting and was well read. Nik embraced compassionate friends and blocked those with malice. He enjoyed a good debate, especially one with critical-thinking; his friends who engaged him with keen repartee knew him to have a quick wit and earthy sense of humor. Sometimes he could be disappointed with those who could dish it out, but couldn’t take it served back. He loved the golden eagle and often featured it in his art, especially his series, Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Man.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his son, Wade. He is survived by his companion and partner for 30 years, Erni Wegner of Belfry; his son, Jess (Rachael) and his three grandchildren, Griffin, Henry and Margot; his brothers, Tex (Sheri) of Ryegate, Ronald (Judith) of Caldwell, Idaho, David (Diane) of Cheyenne, Wyo., and many cousins, nephews and nieces. “Look, explore, ask questions, listen, take risks, and discover yourself in your phenomenal world. And then share it all with someone you love, for life here is so very short no matter how long you manage to live.” -Nik Cremation has taken place so that ground can be used for growing food to feed the living. Cremation & Funeral Gallery is in charge of arrangements.