May 21, 2012

Featured Artist | Nicholas Galanin

Nicholas Galanin comes to us from Sitka, Alaska. The traditional lands of his relatives and ancestors, Galanin continues to mark Sitka as a critically important place to his identity and creativity.

As a guy who can find inspiration in the smallest moments in life, Galanin is a true artist who refuses to focus on one medium or category.

We can find Galanin's work in the Peabody Essex museum archives, the Vancouver Art Gallery's hip Beat Nation exhibit, his local Devilfish Gallery space, or on the radio airwaves under the pseudonym Silver Jackson (if it's that, you know, new soul-baring indie kind of music) or Indian Nick (if it's that ndn hip hop style).

We can also find him supporting charity fundraising projects (say no to Pebble Mine), or being finagled by me to do something for Beyond Buckskin. You ask him to create something 'traditional'?, he'll bring into being a beautiful drum box from a piece of wood. You ask him if he can do anything contemporary- and an entire gallery show unfolds. You give him a guitar and ask him to play a song?, well, you know where I'm going with this.

So when I asked him to create something special for Beyond Buckskin shoppers - his idea grew almost instantly. It's planting season in Sitka, and the thought of patches of fruits and berries inspired this beautiful collection of copper earrings. Each of the 3/4" round blueberry earrings are shaped, well, like a juicy blueberry. The other earrings in the collection, the longer strips of copper, are cut from a copper sheet that has been engraved with a berry patch design. All perfectly shaped, they sparkle and shimmer and remind us that planting our own tiny garden is incredibly important. We can't always rely on large grocery stores to feed us, keep us healthy, or nurture our bodies for our children, our grandchildren. (and you know I'm totally doing an analogy to supporting Native arts vs. relying on large corporations who feed us weak 'Native' goods, right? You caught that right?)

Shop Galanin's entire collection here, or check out his amazing silver, copper, or brass bracelets here, which, as a part of this special feature week, are all 10% off. It's an amazing time to be Indigenous.

More about Galanin: Having trained extensively in ‘traditional’ as well as ‘contemporary’ approaches to art, he pursues them both in parallel paths. His stunning bodies of work simultaneously preserve his culture and explore new perceptual territory. Galanin studied at the London Guildhall University, where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with honors in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing and at Massey University in New Zealand earning a Master’s degree in Indigenous Visual Arts. Valuing his culture as highly as his individuality, Galanin has created an unusual path for himself. He deftly navigates “the politics of cultural representation”, as he balances both ends of the aesthetic spectrum. With a fiercely independent spirit, Galanin has found the best of both worlds and has given them back to his audience in stunning form.