I was born in Comox B.C. in 1972 and named Magedzi after my grandfather Chief Andy Frank. My cultural interests lay with both my Comox and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestries and are expressed through dancing, singing, and even the pursuit of a Master’s degree in Anthropology.
I feel that my artwork stands on par with these other accomplishments. Although I began drawing Northwest Coast art at an early age, my first serious attempt wasn’t until 1990 when I started designing and painting Chilkat-style blankets for use in potlatch dancing. From these early self-taught lessons I have tried to follow in the footsteps of my Kwakiutl relatives in creating bold and unique representations that remain rooted in the age-old traditions of my ancestors.
Although my grandfather passed away before I was born, I feel that he leads me by example. The older hamatsa dancer is the leader, teaching the younger one not only to dance but how to respect and follow our traditions. It is this continuity, this continual cycle that pushes me to paint, to write, and to learn.
Andy recently received the Queen Elizabeth II Royal Diamond Jubilee medal for his image “Remembrance,” which he donated to the National Aboriginal Veterans Association.