Cantrell is Cherokee, originally from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and has made his home in Oregon for the last 30 years. Cantrell did two Navy tours in Vietnam, during his second tour he was a diving officer in the Mekong Delta. He stayed in Southeast Asia another 15 years, working primarily as a photojournalist until 1986. Among Cantrell’s multiple careers, he has taught at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He is now happily retired and making more artwork than ever.
Cantrell utilizes extremely close-up macro images to reveal forms inside of rocks and fossils. Adapting spy satellite imaging software for artistic purposes, Cantrell also photographs rocks and pictograms in the Columbia River Gorge, often revealing remarkable things that the naked eye cannot see. The litho proofs that he has developed with Frank Janzen’s expertise are studies of texture and forms both otherworldly and very much of this earth, stating “these images show how interconnected we are; we are all the same stardust”.