"Art of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest Coast"

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"Salmon Totem II"

(acrylic on wood and masonite 18x32)

Original - $1,450 U.S.

The lives of the "First Peoples" of the Northwest Coast revolved around the salmon. The various species provided their major food source and the natives worked hard to catch and prepare enough to last through the winter. Anyone who's been to a northwest "salmon bake" will attest to the delicious cuisine of this area. The salmon also provided a major source of inspiration for art and stories and were thought to be a separate tribe living under the waters.

This striking piece shows a Tlingit influence in its design. The form inside the salmon represents "Raven" who was quite instrumental in creating the first salmon. Inside the bill is an inlaid abalone disc symbolizing the sun which "Raven" placed in the sky.

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This detail is actually from another "salmon" piece but still gives you a closer look at how this piece was made. The totem is first sketched onto a thin wood sheet and then each piece is cut out, sanded, primed, and stained. The totem is then reassembled on the painted masonite at various levels from the surface using custom cut spacers beneath most of the pieces. Abalone pieces or copper are also used for decoration. In this case, abalone has been inlaid into the bill of the raven. This one is shadowbox framed with a wide, flat-black frame that gives it a spectacular look.

These totems have a very contemporary look while owing their origins to traditional design structures. They have the 3-dimensional appearance of carvings and yet a 2-dimensional appearance of flat artwork. It can vary from subtle to dramatic depending on the lighting source.

This technique is perfect for artwork needed for large home areas and corporate settings. They can be made to fit virtually any size requirements and take approximately 3 weeks to construct. Special considerations can also be made for any personal preferences. Feel free to contact me via e-mail for further information and I'll answer any questions you may have.

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