I’ve been extremely busy with the Red Runners show and running a few Northwest coast art workshops in the city of Toronto recently, so work on 52 has come to a stand still. However, with those things wrapping up I will have around five weeks to work on it before I head west to work on my Master of Applied Arts degree at Emily Carr. Though I have not worked on 52 I’ve been thinking about the origins of the idea, not the concept but the look of the work.
I look at these little figures I've created and I am reminded of two things; Charles Edenshaws supernatural beings carved in argillite and the Kodama tree spirits from the anime Princess Mononoke. It is natural that I would be influenced by the things I’ve seen, I don’t think its something I should ignore but something I should cherish. Princess Mononoke is a brilliant movie about the struggle between human progress and the natural world.
When I decided on the look of the figures I needed to carve them in Haida style. I am half Haida half Nisga’a but I have carved in a Nisga’a style most of my career. I have some experience in Haida style from working on a couple of totem poles with Lyle Campbell. I needed to learn more about haida style faces so I studied the Three Watchmen installation by Robert Davidson at College Park in Toronto.
I have made it my mission statement to study the old masters rather than spend to much time studying the work of my contemporary’s. I feel if I am going to continue a legacy then I need to know where the legacy began and Charles Edenshaw is an important part of that legacy.