Creekmore (known to his friends as Creeky) was an American artist who, in the beginning of his career, "wandered" extensively, using his experiences in observation and his direct and expressive draftmanship as vehicles to bring the sensitivity and ways of life in foreign lands to America's local shores.
Creeky was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. He moved to Baltimore, Maryland, graduating from the Maryland Institute School of Mechanical Arts (now "MICA") in 1930. During his days as an art student, he became friends with another student artist, Leonard Bahr (who was only 7 days younger than Creeky), and they shared a studio for a while as well as a love of sailing, and remained life-long friends. Creeky was an easy-going student with a great sense of humor. After graduation in 1930, he worked his way through Europe with a sketch pad, and in 1933, spent five months in Mexico. By 1936, he set out again "on a shoestring" with his sketch pad as means of support. He stayed in villages in Japan, India, Mongolia, and China, and kept illustrated journals.
Between trips, he worked as a Baltimore Evening Sun staff illustrator, with sketches of his travels and of local news reports published regularly. One such local report told of his rides in a garbage truck on their late night run through the City streets -- a bit of humor on what was normally encountered in that type of business. He also won prizes for his sketches of Baltimore neighborhoods in the Evening Sun sponsored b&w sketch contests. His drawings of the Orient comprised the first one-man show at the Baltimore Museum of Art that they had displayed in 6 years. In 1937, he published in Art Instruction (a national art journal), "A Baltimore Hiker in Nippon, Becoming Acquainted With The Japanese Alps," including sketches and photographs of his trip from the previous year. And in 1938, he participated in a Courbet Symposium and illustrated a booklet for the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
Creeky joined the Army Air Force during WWII and became a Captain. He was assigned to draw Army pilots in their varied duties including the Tokyo Superfortress raids and sketches of the Army in Guam, Puerto Rico, Greenland, the Baffin Islands, and in Newfoundland -- where he slept in an igloo. He still kept a writing journal of his experiences during the war. Meanwhile, he had married and had a son. The family, at that time, lived in Mamaroneck, New York, and after the war, taught at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute.
During this time too, he also started to write and illustrate children's books, and in 1944, he co-authored a book with actor Joe E. Brown entitled "Your Kids and Mine." That was followed by his own "Lokoshi" in 1946, "Ali's Elephant" in 1949, and in 1950, the "Little Skipper" (about his family's true adventures of building their first sailboat). More books followed in 1951, when he illustrated "Rusty," by another author, and in 1954, he wrote and illustrated "Fujio," and "Little Fu" in 1960.
Creeky loved the water and sailing and in 1950, he designed and built his own unique sloop on his father-in-law's property near the Magothy River in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland, after reading how to build one in a book. On a low budget and with innovative techniques, he built a 5-layered mahogany hull over a handmade mold. Eventually, that became his business and "Creekmore" sailboats are still well-known and trusted for their quality craftsmanship. Creeky moved from New York to Miami and was in that business even by 1959, when the Bahr's went to visit him and see his thriving industry. One can still find Creekmore boats built by Raymond and later his son Lee online for sale.
According to records, Creeky's last residence was in Theodore, Alabama. He is survived by his son Lee Creekmore (also a boatbuiler) and four grandchildren.
Publishments include the "American Artist" (1944), and the Baltimore "Evening Sun (1938, 1939, 1942, 1945, 1946)." Creekmore exhibited widely and reproductions of his drawings, books, and boat designs can be found online. A virtual grave memorial for Creekmore is at Findagrave.com. The Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Maryland Historical Society also hold some of the records, publicity, letters and photos of his life. Public collections of his work include: The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Univ. of Michigan Mus. of Art, Univ. of Missouri, the Mobile Mus. of Art, the Michael C. Carlos Mus. in Atlanta, and the E.L. Andersen Library at the Univ. of Minnesota.