Haida / Metis Nations
Born on June 29, 1958, in Prince Rupert, BC, Don Yeomans is one of the most respected and renowned Northwest Coast Native artists. Born of a Masset Haida father and a Metis mother from Slave Lake, Alberta, Yeomans has studied and worked in the Haida Style since he was a youth.
As a young man, Yeomans apprenticed under the expert guidance of his aunt, Freda Diesing. He worked with Robert Davidson RCA on the Charles Edenshaw Memorial Longhouse and completed a jewelry apprenticeship with Phil Janze. Yeomans has also studied fine art at Langara College in Vancouver.
He has worked with many acclaimed Northwest coast artists, including Bill Reid, Robert Davidson, Phil Janze and Gerry Marks, studying their styles, techniques and philosophies.
Don Yeomans crafts his artworks in many materials: he creates exquisite jewelry pieces in gold and silver, paints elegant Haida designs on paper, produces outstanding prints and is one of the finest carvers.
His work can be found in the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Seattle Art Museum. In 2002 he completed a major totem pole commission for Stanford University.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
Limited edition of 12
“I love carving Octopus. The fluid, long tentacles and suckers make it detailed and challenging. In this panel, my mind went back to childhood when I was totally curious about what was ‘bigger and stronger’. Could this animal win a fight with that animal? The books I read about the Giant Octopus and a story my dad once told me about a crew member who almost got taken by a large octopus that was blown on deck when they were fishing halibut in the Bering Sea. My Giant Octopus is taking on a Killerwhale in this panel – who wins? I no longer care. It is the struggle that captivates my imagination.
When I released a resin cast edition of this piece, a collector told me it was too violent. I said, ‘No, it’s not!’, and I punched him (just kidding!). Violence is what people do. Animals merely survive.” – Don Yeomans
Yellow Cedar, Acrylic paint
The Eagle is seen as a symbol of prestige, power, peace, wisdom and friendship. Eagles one of the most prominent beings in the art and mythology of Pacific Northwest Coast Indigenous culture, and claim both honour and high stature. They are respected for their intelligence, grace, and power, and can be associated with freedom and lofty pursuits. In artwork, the figure can be easily recognized by its hooked beak.
Yellow Cedar wood (bent & bulged), Operculum shell, Acrylic paint
“These steam-bent boxes are a lot of fun to do. The boards being extra thick lend themselves well to very sculptural carving. I chose to do a Killerwhale nearly twenty years ago, when I first got this box from my late friend, Larry Rosso. The paint and operculum shell inlay evolved to counteract the strong wood grain that wanted to be the star.” – Don Yeomans
Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
Don Yeomans’ Killerwhale & Eagle Panel is a beautiful and dynamic depiction of two significant and powerful figures in Pacific Northwest Coast Indigenous culture. Carved from rich red cedar wood, the panel features a classic red and black color-scheme that is commonly seen in historic northern artworks. The vibrant red, combined with the dynamic expressiveness of the carving, easily captures the attention of all those in its vicinity. With such impeccable detail and fluidity, this artwork serves as a true testament to Don Yeomans’ skill as a master artist.
Yellow Cedar wood
“In this panel I used Raven, which is my crest, to represent myself. The elephant represents any topic in a social setting that people try to avoid. So, this is more of an observation on my part that wherever people gather, there is always an elephant in the room.” – Don Yeomans
Red Cedar wood
“Our backyard is a constant swarm of hummingbirds [that] gathers around the feeder. Two hummingbirds can sometimes share, but three birds on one feeder is war.
In this panel design, there are three sections of wings and feet, while the central area has a pinwheel-like arrangement indicating three mouths and beaks. In the very centre is one eye, which, ironically, they share despite battling over one feeder.” – Don Yeomans
Yellow Cedar wood
“This panel [has] two purposes. The first is an idea that the mention of extraterrestrials influencing our past, while a popular notion, is extremely controversial. In many cultures, ‘their’ mere existence is a challenge to a religious narrative of Man’s creation. Naturally, I wondered if, in the case of Haida, did Raven really find humans living in a giant clamshell?
The second purpose of this panel lies in the raw or rough appearance of the wood carving. Some of my favourite carvings from older times are crudely carved. The message and power endowed within these pieces can felt despite their less polished appearance.” – Don Yeomans
Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
36 x 24.75 x 2″ (each panel)
36 x 74.25 x 2″ (entire triptych)
“I have always loved patterns in design. The goal in this series was to represent a pod of whales in a very traditional colour & design. The biggest challenge for me in this was the absolute [tedium] I experienced having to carve the same design three times.” – Don Yeomans
The artist’s Past Works at our Gallery have now sold; however, a custom order may be possible if the artist is available and accepting commissions.