In high school I met a wonderful art teacher, Mr. Wilson. It was he, who noticed my artistic ability was related to abstracts.
Mr. Wilson was my mentor.
He introduced me to the Pacific Northwest Native Art, determining I was a natural for this specific kind of art.
After studying the basic styles, I prepared art pieces related to the aborginal mythology. My art medium was expressed on canvas, paper, silkscreen to eventually carving. Mr. Wilson explained to me, you’re not a true representation of Pacific Northwest Native Art, unless you make your very own craving tools, including the handle. After fashioning my carving knife representing a bear, mythologically known for the keeper of dreams and memories, I began carving a Killer Whale.
I was hooked.
Throughout my art classes at VSS (Vernon Senior Secondary) I became good friends with Mr. Wilson. Afterwards, we went our separate ways. He extended his teaching career at UBC (University of British Columbia ) in Vancouver, while I followed his advice, becoming an Art Teacher.
After graduating I headed to Okanagan College. At the time I didn’t know this, but I should have gone to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. With very little funds, I couldn’t pursue this avenue of choice.
At a local Art Exhibit in Kelowna, my art pieces were mistaken for local aboriginals because of the my ability to understand the native culture.
Everyone enjoyed my art pieces, but I was placed in limbo.
To the aboriginals, I wasn’t native, so I couldn’t sell my pieces in their art stores. But they were impressed with my work, to the point a local medicine man told me I was under the influence of the Raven.
The Raven mythology for the Pacific Northwest Native People is referred to has the creators assistant, able to transform into any form at will. He was responsible for placing the SUN in the sky and supplying the rivers and seas with fish. It’s also said he loves to trick people, which the medicine man thought I was teased and tricked by the Raven, placing my soul in turmoil.
The mischievous Raven was laughing because he placed my artistic soul within the aboriginal culture, knowing all to well, I would not be accepted by the Pacific Northwest Native People or by my own peers.
So, to this very day, my artistic abilities is still placed in limbo.
In the beginning I learned the basics of the Pacific Northwest Native Art, expanding to my own artistic style. It’s my belief, the Raven trickster is still amused by my artistic abilities.
Here’s some more Pacific Northwest Native Art pieces I did – MY ART
In the end, my arts career extended to writing, screenwriting and the Arts.
By Bari Demers – screenwriter, artist
The above photo of my artistic piece called, “Sea to Land – The Spiritual Connection”, is in its preliminary stages. Planning any art piece, we like to sketch and colour our proposed piece before it goes on canvas. I would like to eventually place this one on canvas.