Born in 1957, Peter Charlie of the Squamish Nation in North Vancouver, Canada learned to carve from his grandfather at the age of 10. Today, he is one of the very best carvers in Northwest Native art. In fact, his artwork has much more detail and three dimensional shape than found on most contemporary Northwest Native art wood carvings. Peter has worked with bone and silver but prefers wood as his main carving material. He claims that his artistic inspiration comes naturally from inside him. There's also the desire to always create one of a kind artwork as he says, "I want to make each piece unique."
Unlike other Northwest Native art carvers who work on one piece at a time, Peter prefers to work on several carvings at once. He will take a group of carvings together through each stage of the art process. So every week, a new group of Peter Charlie Northwest Native art carvings are usually finished together.
Peter has noticed a high interest level in the arts among his community's youth. He claims that this interest comes from a renewed desire to learn about their people's history. With art, he says, "Our people can hold on to their history in the modern world." He would suggest to beginners to learn by watching experienced carvers until the craft blends into their frames of mind. In Peter's opinion, learning to shape on wood would take at least a year and developing into a decent Northwest Native art carver would take four to five years.
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Peter thinks that Northwest Native art today has more free designs compared to the old traditional styles. He is likely one of the innovators leading this evolution as he says, "My artwork is more realistic looking now ... I like to give them more life rather than leave them flat or one dimensional." Peter Charlie is an example of a master artisan who is able to add innovation to his artwork while keeping with Northwest Native art traditions.
As for the future of Northwest Native art, Peter says, "I would like to see more museums and more exposure for our art."
With the popularity of Northwest Native art growing, Peter Charlie will emerge into the public eye as one of this aboriginal art style's top carvers.
Peter's artwork is featured in the Northwest Indian Art Carvings video. Northwest Native artists like Peter Charlie and others are producing some stunning artwork these days. Imagine such a piece being displayed in your home. See Northwest Native art carvings or Northwest Native art prints at very affordable online prices at Free Spirit Gallery.
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