Tom Eneas’s talents are such that he receives much praise from his peers and elders; he carves with an expertise seldom seen in an artist of his youthful age. Evident in the lineal flow which graces his work, this artist shares an in-depth comprehension and an intimacy with each medium.
Born in Penticton, British Columbia in 1970, Tom moved to Vancouver in 1989 where he lived with his mother Verna Baker, of the Squamish nation. It was under her guidance that Tom began to explore his heritage. He maintains that it is through the continued support he receives from his family that he is able to explore his art and culture at a depth, which furthers his inspiration.
In 1991, at the age of twenty-one, Tom began studying the techniques to create the forms and lines traditional to Northwest Coast art and he began an exploration of the meaning behind the art. Tom’s studies culminated three years later when he carved his first two dimensional piece and his first mask which was then used in a ceremonial dance. Tom furthered his artistic training by apprenticing with Kevin Cranmer, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist who himself stems from the esteemed Cranmer lineage.
As a tribute to his flourishing artistic career, Tom was bestowed with the honour of redesigning and painting the surface of the Esquimalt Longhouse. He strengthened his status when he collaborated with other First Nation’s artists in carving a totem pole, which is now housed in front of Vancouver Technical High School in Vancouver.
Tom Eneas is setting an artistic precedent, not only for the upcoming generations of First Nation artists, but also, for his contemporaries. His cognizance of the roots of his culture only furthers his journey into this artistic realm. On the cusp of being elevated to the stature of master carver, Tom Eneas has a prosperous future.