Born to Jim and Diane Work in Campbell River in 1975, Kwakwaka'wakw artist Clinton Work grew up learning Kwakwaka’wakw stories and preliminary Kwak’wala from Diane Matilpi. An avid illustrator from childhood, Work began applying his artistic skills to traditional Kwakwaka’wakw form and design in the mid 1990’s. He has apprenticed and collaborated with Cree artist Phil Ashbee, helping to complete a major installation "Salmon Coming Home" at the Nanaimo Port Theatre in July 2000.
In 2007, Work began experimenting as a silversmith, a skill he learned from Saulteaux/Ojibway artist Kelvin Thompson, whose work we also have in our collection. His natural sense of design and unusual motif choices sets his work apart from what is often available. Work’s masks attract international buyers due to his precision and finishing consistency, one of which involves lightly sanding his masks after painting them to expose the natural grain, rendering an antiqued quality. Well versed in plant technology, Work harvests, cures, prepares and weaves his own cedar bark adornments.
Work has cemented a niche in the art market as one of few artists to apply cropped abstract interpretations of traditional form-line across a wide spectrum of mediums including acrylic on canvas, prints, carved wood panels, exquisite oxidized pendants etched and gauged into Canadian silver coins, as well as his spectacular plastic “Clamming Bucket circa 2014” which was included in the ‘Contemporary American Indian Art’ exhibition at the Nerman Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Work has delved into several mediums and has also restored damaged art pieces with impeccable precision. He has created a number of pieces for Copper Moon Gallery since 2004 including our logo design, numerous masks, headdresses, bentwood box designs, drum paintings, woven headbands, and custom jewelry pieces.
2011: Silver: Celebrating 25 Years; Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
2012: Medium: Painting on CanvasLattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
2012: Barnacles to Butterflies: Unusual Silver Jewellery; Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
2014: Contemporary American Indian Art; The Nerman Museum Collection
2014: From the Depths: Jewellery Inspired by the Sea; Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
2015: From the Forest Floor: Jewellery Inspired by the Forest; Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
PERMANENT ART EXHIBITIONS
2000: Salmon Coming Home: Nanaimo Port Theatre, Nanaimo BC, Collaborator/Assistant to Cree artist Phil Ashbee
PUBLIC & CORPORATE COMMISSIONS
2004: Copper Moon Logo Design - Nanaimo BC2007: Van-Isle Races: Cadillac Van-Isle 360 Awards, Commissioned through Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo BC2007: PAPTAC: Owl Design for Corporate giftsCommissioned through Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo BC 2007: PAPTAC: Sea Otter Design for Corporate gifts, Commissioned through Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo
2006: Native Spirit Pumpkins; Loaves & Fishes; Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo BC
2007: Native Spirit Pumpkins; Loaves & Fishes Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo BC
2011 - Present: Annual Charity Bentwood Boxes; Urban Native Youth Association Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
Though Moon is not a common crest, it is affiliated with transformation. Mover of tides, Moon is viewed as a very powerful protector and is often associated with Medicine people.
Moon is affiliated with Wolf, as both are considered nocturnal. Moon is also associated with Killer Whale and Lingcod, as it is believed that during the eclipse, the Moon had been swallowed by such sea creatures – so great fires were lit to choke the sea creature until they spat Moon back out into the night sky. Sometimes, Moon has a labret marking on the lower lip to symbolize female energy. Of course the most famous story of all involving the Moon is that of Raven bringing light to the world. For this reason, Raven is often depicted with a full moon in his beak.
Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)
Rattles are used in ceremony for different reasons, and are commonly affiliated with medicine. The dancer conceals the rattle, as it is a sacred object. Artists will rarely ever disclose what they use inside the rattle for sound, as this is also considered sacred.
This Full Moon has Coast Salish designs around the face, and abalone inlays. This was the first piece we procured prior to opening our doors in August 2004. It remains a lovely and beautifully crafted piece.