Friday, March 19, 2010

Heard @ The Heard 2010: Getting the Inside Scoop on Seriagraph-Making with Coast Salish Artist Peter Boome

I have been an artist since I could pick up a Crayon and draw on the wall…I can’t remember ever not creating.”— Peter Boome, Coast Salish artist

Get me near Northwest Coast First Peoples’ art and I immediately become excited. Forget that I’m from the Northwest and forget that it was the first type of indigenous art that made me realize there was art outside of the performing world. First, it was the masks that attracted me, then it was sculpture, and then I became interested in handmade Northwest Coast jewelry.  In the last couple of years, I have been enjoying seriagraphs, which are hand-done screen prints. While the drama and the detailed work of the Northwest Coast tribal mask appealed to my senses, these beautiful hand-printed pieces are equally labor-intensive to create and dramatic.

Upon arriving in the Southwest, in an effort to learn more about my environs, I refocused my eye more on art of the pueblos in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe region. Having lived in New York between stints in the Pacific Northwest and now New Mexico, it never occurred to me that these two distinct art worlds would be so interconnected. It has been wonderful to go to SWAIA Indian Market and the Heard Museum Guild’s Indian Fair and Market and feel like I’m home by meeting Northwest Coast and Alaskan artists.

Peter Boome, currently a resident of University Place, Washington, is a member of the Upper Skagit Tribe and works in the Coast Salish style. Now a law student and a father of four, Boome focuses most of his time these days on his seriagraphs rather than on carving. There are many Northwest Coast artists working with seriagraphs, but, in my opinion, Boome creates some of the most beautiful Northwest Coast images I have ever seen.

With the rising costs involved with making and selling original art, Boome and his wife Lois formed their company (Araquin, also the name of their son) with the idea of creating high-quality art in larger numbers that people could actually afford.

Boome uses a hand-drawn stencil and then layers colors to create the desired effect for his seriagraphs. The artist stays true to his culture by depicting only images derived from his region, but if he hears a particular story that appeals to him, he is likely to tell it in his own way through art.

Peter Boome was kind enough to let me shoot some images and talk briefly to me about his work at the 2010 Heard Museum Guild’s Indian Fair and Market. Watch the video HERE.

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