Posts Tagged “gallery”

Roy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the class


Today we had the honor of hearing the artist Roy Henry Vickers talk to the class. Roy is energetic, enthusiastic and totally engrossing in his speeches. He covered topics ranging from his life history to design. Roy had a way of capturing the attention of his audience with a gentle, yet responsive tone and always was sensitive to his audience. I know that a few times during the presentation he answered questions that I had without me even having to ask them. One of these questions was about where he got such amazing story telling skills. Roy confided to us that he gained these skills from two people, one person being the poet and scholar Chief Dan George and the other person being a gentleman who spoke in his village when he was younger. Roy said that Chief Dan George taught him to speak “from here”, pointing to his chest. Roy also mentioned that one of his elders taught him to speak from the heart, because when you speak “from here”, you speak to others “right here.”

Roy went on to discuss his gallery, the Eagle Aerie Gallery, in Tofino; his family and children; and some of his key prints. Roy described his experiences with tears and laughter. Roy described his prints in tones of emotion and reminiscence. Roy touched upon various issues that are close to his heart, such as the protection of the rivers and waters in the area from potentially destructive influences such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project and the suspended Shell Coalbed Methane development. Roy said something that is true about the rivers–they are the lifeblood of the people. Kill or polute these rivers and you seriously injure the traditional ways of the first nations, possibly forever.

Roy went on to talk about what makes a print valuable and even what makes a print an original work of art. He said that when you make an edition, especially your first edition, your reputation is on the line. To me, he impressed upon me to make my first edition a high quality one and never another cheap old giclee edition.

Tomorrow he will be discussing prints and computer design. Stay tuned.

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Geo McKay

Geo McKay is an aboriginal artist from the Nisga’a nation, who resides in Terrace. Geo has been at this game for a whole lot longer than I–40 years in fact–and has a lot to offer the native art market and the local community of artists.

I invited Geo McKay out for a coffee tonight with the intentions of gleaning some of his wisdom and maybe a good story or two. Geo, not wanting to miss a beat went into telling stories right away. Geo told me about his childhood and difficulties with school and how he dropped out to help out his family at home. Geo later came back to school and graduated within a short period of time. In drafting and architecture classes, Geo excelled with an A+ average.

Geo was mentored for a time by Freda Diesing, a Haida artist whom Dempsey Bob described as “the only teacher [of traditional northwest coast art] around at the time.” Also, one thing that Geo noticed about Terrace when he started carving, was that there was no native representation in the tourist markets around Terrace. Geo was determined to change this and worked hard over many years to develop his skills.

Over the years, Geo would come to sell to the museum in Prince Rupert–where a friend told him that people were buying. Geo lived for 15 years in Prince Rupert. Geo also sold to certain galleries in Vancouver, developing relations with the Spirit Wrestler Gallery and the Royal BC Museum.

Geo related to me a story about how he had three masks that he had carved that he was hoping to sell to the Royal BC Museum. He said that one of the masks he was selling for $800, another for $1200 and another for $1500. When asked why the difference in price, Geo referred to the fact that the first mask had one face, the second two and the third three faces. So, the buyer purchased the first two masks, but told Geo that she couldn’t afford the third mask. Not wanting to let Geo get away with the mask, she made a counter offer; she would take the mask on a 40% commission. Geo got a fraction of what he was hoping for, but he was still happy because it was more than what he would have had otherwise.  I think that the moral of the story was that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Geo also went on to say that when an artist sells to galleries in Vancouver “it doesn’t matter how many emails or photos that an artist sends to the galleries down there, the artist has to actually meet with the gallery owners that he wants to do business with, because the artist is selling himself.”

Geo went on to share his knowledge on pricing, mentoring, artist representation, target markets, relevant market factors, sponsorship, business partnership, and why some art businesses fail.

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