Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Jungen factor

Brian Jungen’s work deals with issues around the commercialism in First Nations art. When I see Jungen’s work, I think of issues around pan-Indianism. Pan-Indianism is when natives are looked at as one culture rather than a large group of many cultures. Some native artists use pan-indianism to their advantage, for example a Cree or Métis carving in a Northwest coast Native art style. So my question is; is Jungen’s work using pan-Indianism to his advantage or is he exposing the western art world’s attitude of pan-Indianism when dealing with Native artists. Either way, I like the work; you can feel the spirit or soul (pun intended) of the masks, they have a presence. I have friends who are non-northwest coast carvers who do great work, so I guess if you can take the criticism you can continue to do the work. (2 carvings by Ken Humpherville)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Starving: Native Artist in Toronto

In order to create this piece I needed either someone to commission a totempole, save the money myself or get an arts grant. Luckily for me the Ontario arts council liked my proposal and three years after I did my initial sketch I had funds to start carving. However even with the funds from the OAC I needed some good will from Henry green and a part time job to complete this project. With my job and other projects lateral to the totem pole it took me six months to complete. I will be showing the totem pole in early spring 2010.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inspiration: A Dream Envisioned

My totempole came to me one night when I was watching a T.V. show about whales. This show wove a glorious tale about how whales evolved from large wolf like creatures that lived close to the ocean. I thought to myself...imagine going to the beach and seeing a pack of wolves the size of killer whales, you’d be like “holy crap look at the size of those wolves!” This was what we in the art business call a eureka moment..an epiphany so to speak. I immediately did a small sketch on the back of an old photo copy (I do a lot of drawing on the back of old photo copy’s, I hate to waste). So I had my sketch and it became the inspiration for my first totempole

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Totem: The roots of my Carving.....

The decision to carve a totem pole didn’t come easy. I had worked on others totem poles, three to be exact. One was with my old master Henry Green and the second was with my friend Lyle Campbell. While working on their totem poles I felt it was too much work and I told them so. They both told me it would be different when I worked on my own totem pole, they were right. My first totem pole wasn’t a commission; I didn’t think “I want to carve a totem pole, what should I carve?” I wanted to tell a story and a totem pole was the best way to tell it.