Doug Cranmer was born in Alert Bay, son of Chief Dan Cranmer and Agnes Hunt Cranmer. He set the standard of innovation for Kwakwaka'wakw art. His first formal instruction was in Victoria under Mungo Martin, in 1959. He worked with Bill Reid on UBC's Haida Village project c. 1959-62, and on the restoration of totem poles in Vancouver's Stanley Park. After completing the UBC project in 1962, Cranmer (with A.J. Scow and Dick Bird) founded a retail gallery, The Talking Stick. This was one of the few initiatives at the time through which First Nations art was marketed by First Nations people. Cranmer had totem pole commissions from around the world, and is considered an innovative master of flat design. His exhibitions include, Arts of the Raven, 1967, and the B.C. Pavillion at Expo '70, in Osaka Japan. His influence as a teacher was also significant, he taught at 'Ksan, the Vancouver Museum, and at Alert Bay, since 1977. He worked as an artist in residence at MOA in 1995. Doug was a hereditary chief of the 'Namgis band, and had also worked as a fisherman and a hand logger. He was an inspiration to his home community, contributing extensively to the construction of the U'mista Cultural Centre and the Bighouse at Alert Bay.