Joe David was born in the small Clayoquot village of Opitsat on the west coast of Vancouver Island, considered the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. Although much of his childhood was spent in Seattle, he maintained a positive connection with his cultural heritage through his late father, Hyacinth David.
In the late 1960s, after attending art school and working as a commercial artist, David turned his attention to First Nation’s art. Following this personal decision, he met Duane Pasco, a recognized student and teacher of Northwest Coast art, and Bill Holm, the well-known Northwest Coast scholar. David began attending Holm’s classes at the University of Washington, and between 1971 and 1973 was apprenticed to Pasco. Both Pasco and Holm stimulated David to explore the style of a number of Northwest Coast traditions.
This varied background of experience has allowed David to independently, and in concert with his cousin, Ron Hamilton, rediscover and redefine not only his own Nuu-chah-nulth tradition of sculpture and design, but to also understand other variations in form distinct to other regions along British Columbia’s coastline.
Today, Joe is not only an accredited master carver, but he has been in pursuit of lecturing within North America and abroad. His artwork can be found in many private and public collections worldwide.