Gus Cook – Curator’s Choice Summer 2021

Being accomplished in the ancient art of repousse – an old European metalworking technique – has garnered quite a reputation for Gus Cook and his exceptional jewelry.

He acquired his proficiency with this technique through cousin and mentor Rande Cook who studied it in Italy and New York, and then brought it home to ultimately share and pass on to Gus.

“I just spent as much time as I needed [honing my skills] … that’s when things started to look up for me. That’s when I stared to love it.”

It’s evident in his highly imaginative and precise pieces that Gus pays considerable attention to the details, both in design and application of inlays. Each artwork contains a narrative whether it’s a single figure or an entire story that is played out across the surface of one of his bracelets as shown in this image below:

Original sketch of U’mel Bracelet by Gus Cook (artist commission)

“It’s such an intimate job sometimes, creating wearable art to match stories… Almost a decade of art [2019] and I feel like I’m just getting started…”

Recently Gus was the recipient of the 2019 Fulmer Award in British Columbia First Nations Art by the BC Achievement Foundation. This annual award honours artistic excellence, creativity, originality and interpretation of First Nations culture and aesthetics.

Gus Cook Kwakwaka'wakw Indigenous Native Artist

To view Gus Cook’s entire collection in our Gallery and for more details, please click here.

Photo credit: Gus Cook’s artwork wall & jewelry displays – BC Achievement Foundation 2019. Photography of jewelry that’s mounted on wall and some artworks in cases is courtesy of Coastal Peoples Gallery.