The second mural for Camp Nor'wester is finished and I managed to get the energy to do some voice over this time. Mainly for the locals who are more familiar with Kwakwaka’wakw iconography in confusing the double headed serpent with the Sisiutl. Enjoy.
For years I have been asked why I don't show my work in Tacoma, the city I've called my home for many years. The answer was quite simple and remains, the market for galleries has been minimal. I've made a big decision this year, to move the studio south and in doing so I wanted to at least show somewhere in town local. I was approached by Jamie Brooks to display work after we met at an event a couple years back. She has a studio on Antique row located on Market street where she has artists show work. It is not a gallery space but it has housed many local artists signifacant to the community and therefore I've taken up her offer.
Next month we are doing an opening so be sure to sign up on the mailing list to receive details. Space will be limited but we will do our best to accommodate you all. This is precursor to a show I will be having in October at Stonington gallery in Seattle later in the Fall.
I am hoping to showcase the new silver work and some experimental metal pieces. I've finding a balance between designing in my 3d program merging with hand carved elements as in this case (above) the base for the whale fin. Be on the look out for more soon.
When the fashion launch happened I had great ambitions to do silver engraved earrings, pendants and bracelets that I'd longed to do for years. Unfortunately, fashion is complex and there were many unforeseen hurdles to get the launch to go as we had planned, such is life. Not only that but it had been nearly 10 years since I'd set my hand in the engraver block and to think it would just magically take fluency as though riding a bike. Well I'm happy to announce that I am working on new works in silver and dedicated to it so keep a look out for announcements on availability in the new silver tab I'm going to be launching next month.
On May 31st 2014 at the Northwest Native Celebration at Tacoma Art Museum the initial launch of Indigenized Design took place. It is a collaboration of Shyla Spicer, Karey Cruz and myself. This was our call to contribute fashion designs in place of the 'Native Inspired' hipster movement that's been so largely offensive to the Native American community. We are hoping to provide an alternative of apparel that is created by Natives and modeled by Native individuals to give presence to a place that has been void for the most part. The website is under construction and some minor alterations are being done to the line but I will be posting updates as they come. Thanks to all who made this possible from the core team to the models and assisting camera, make up and hair specialists as well as the art museum for hosting the event.
If you were to tell me that when I began in my career I would become obsessed with the digital design aspect I would have laughed at you. At my early beginnings working as an apprentice I clung tightly to my doctor bag full of traditional carving tools I'd made under the guidance of my master. It included a couple elbow adzes, a d-adze and a selection of knives, a leather strop, water sharpening stones and occasionally an iron wedge or two.
That was a long time ago and the foundation of carving working with sculpture first hand gave me critical knowledge to do what I do today. As with anything change is innevitable and somehow people long for the romantic past again and again. I've come to realize something though, I am most myself and comfortable accepting new ideas and tools while keeping the old in my arsenal. I think the general or innitial reaction from people who learn about a Native American using tech tools in art as someone who is neglectful of the 'traditions' or somehow dishonoring them. I truly believe as with our stories that it is the innovator that helps create traditions that are adopted over time as I have said many times before, traditions stem from a source and there was a time before they existed so in essence all is up for grabs.
I write this because I am very intrigued by 3d digital design and what is has to offer. I am an art educator at heart in a place where we can share the accomplishments of our ancestors and look at their innovations in a snapshot of time. I will alway remember my first trip to the Makah Museum in Neah Bay, Washington. My mentor at the time Greg Colfax walked me through the collection and talked about 'wood technology'. He shared that people often scoff at the two words put together but it was a real thing. He drew me over to the exhibit where the whaler harpoon was. He said to me 'you see that there'? he pointed to the overlapping joints of the harpoon shaft. 'they interlock' smiling 'they were designed to come apart when the harpooner struck his mark. If it hadn't been designed that way this long wooden piece would be thrashing around killing everyone.'
That day we went through the collection and it was filled with all kinds of implementations of that kind. I'm reminded how as Native people we've been seen as savage and uninformed or naive. It's in the museums I discovered what is not talked about much, the design achievements of survival and an amazingly resourceful people. Today is now different. We have much to draw from around us now and part of my plan is to share those things that fascinated me as a young man in a new way of looking at them and told from a Native perspective.