Born on July 27th, 1976, Jay Simeon’s heritage is a blend if two very different backgrounds; plains and northwest coast First Nations. He is Blackfoot on his mother’s side and Haida on his father’s from a small village named Kiusta. Located along the northwestern tip of Haida Gwaii, north of Old Masset, it is considered to be an ancient totem pole sanctuary. Jay’s prominent family crests include the Eagle, Killerwhale, Cormorant, Frog, Beaver, Flicker and Raven. He has a strong connection to both sides of his roots, however, has begun to pursue more of his Haida heritage by way of his artwork.
At the tender age of fourteen Jay began to pursue designing under the guidance of Sharon Hitchcock, a Haida artist who is his first cousin. He progressed rapidly as an artist and has become a proficient designer interested in exploring various mediums. One of these mediums is argillite, a slate inherent to the Haida culture.
After moving to Vancouver, Jay was introduced to Andrew Williams, an emerging argillite carver and dealer. His influence inspired him to take up the art of carving this material. In a relatively short timeframe Jay progressed very rapidly. He creates some outstanding works that are elaborately inlayed with abalone shell and mastodon ivory. He is incredibly detail oriented and reveals exquisite artistry in each piece he creates. In addition, Jay is currently carving cedar wood specializing in miniature and model images such as masks, poles, canoes, and feast bowls. His abilities clearly extend beyond his years and he is well on his way to achieving his goals of becoming one of the leading artists of the 21st century.
2011 BC Creative Achievement Award in First Nations’ Art