Shawn Patrick Aster is Tsimshian from the Gitxaala Nation, which means "People of the Open Sea,” because they are the westernmost Tsimshian group.
Shawn was born in 1980 in Vancouver, BC and raised in Kitkatla. Kitkatla is one of the oldest communities on the Northwest Coast. Shawn is originally Tsimshian from the Gitxaala Nation.
Once Shawn arrived in Kitkatla, he was immediately struck by his new surroundings, which influenced him to learn more about the history, art and the culture behind it all.
The classical Northwest Coast Formline and sculptures are where Shawn’s inspiration comes from. With his mother being Gitxaala and also an artist, Shawn was motivated to practice Northwest Coast art more and more. Like many others who practice Native Art, one early influence of art came from the art and storytelling of Roy Vickers. At a young age, it was mesmerizing for Shawn whenever Roy came home to Gitxaala and shared his passion for art and culture.
Shawn now illustrates and designs characters from old NorthWest Coast stories of mythology, history and beliefs on both paper and wood sculptures. The fascination with the Northwest Coast Formline is the fact that it can be applied to any given shape, its diversity and complexity.
“I think the standards set by the old NorthWest Coast Art Masters and what they achieved with NorthWest Coast Formline is an example of how amazing they were.”
Keeping in mind the principles and rules of classic Formline, Shawn follows the common sketching and drawing process, starting with roughed out silhouettes or lines then gradually working to a refined and detailed result.
“ I hope whoever sees First Nations art acquires a sense of the way Indigenous ancestors perceived the world and their unique way of life. Northwest Coast Art should be carried on so that future generations know where we came from. “
First Nations Gallery is delighted to feature Shawn and his wonderful art and jewellery designs.
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