Born in 1949, Gerry Marks grew up in Vancouver, largely unaware of his Haida artistic traditions. Subsequent to meeting Bill Reid and discovering, at the young age of twenty, the fine metalwork of his grandfather, John Marks, he began to focus his energy on understanding this tradition.
Marks began a formal study of Pacific Northwest Coast design with Freda Diesing in Prince Rupert in 1971. He later spent time at the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art in Hazelton. Through self-study and influence by other artists, Marks developed his metalworking skills, paying particular attention to the technique of repose.
In 1977, Marks carved a twenty-five foot totem pole with Francis Williams and spent four months in Masset, his mother’s village, working with Robert Davidson on the Charles Edenshaw memorial house front that had been commissioned by the National Historic Sites of Canada. This experience renewed Gerry Marks’ understanding of the importance of wood carving to his own artistic development, particularly as it brings him back to an appreciation of the work of the traditional Haida master carver.
Gerry Marks is one of the finest jewelry artists on the Northwest Coast. His highly abstracted designs, flowing form lines and relief carving style are his hallmark.