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One of life’s most rewarding experiences is collecting fine art, and sometimes it’s best to take a little more time to make these acquisitions with ease. We understand and want to do everything possible to make collecting your next artwork more comfortable. At Coastal Peoples Gallery, we offer an interest-free layaway program and offer flexible terms which can be customized to your individual needs.
James Johnny Jr. was born July 5th, 1973 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada situated along the southern coast of Vancouver Island. He is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, on his mother’s side and Coast Salish Nation, on his father’s side. He takes the Killerwhale, revered as a powerful hunter of the ocean, as his family crest symbol.
James began drawing and carving at the young age of thirteen (1998) as a result of watching his father, Jim Johnny, carve on a regular basis. Carving came naturally to James since he picked up the skills quickly and achieved accurate, dimensional and balanced pieces that contained a great deal of movement. He prefers to use red and yellow cedar wood as his medium and understands the make – up of cedar in order to bring out the best qualities in his pieces.
Presently, James resides in Victoria and relies on carving for his livelihood. James’ work can be found in many private collections within North America as well as in a small number of galleries. His attention to detail is evident in each piece that he creates and he continues to improve with each carving.
James is one of the many new generation of carvers whose talent and skills will enable him to achieve a prominent level within a short period of time.
Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint, Leather
The carving of flutes of the Northwest Coast extends back historically through time. The dramatic importance of the flute was indicated by the variety of specialized whistles, each of which was produced to make specific tones. Songs and dances were part fo all ceremony and ritual, a fundamental element of the inherited privilege. Equally important were the many whistles and other musical instruments that were specifically designated for most dances. Wooden whistles of one, two or three shafts, each with several holes and reeds produced a strong and clear note. Flutes and whistles were traditionally blown in the woods to introduce the cermonial season. Every instrument was the object of time, skill and concern and was considered by those who owned it as a necessary part of the family’s collection
This piece opens to reveal an inner box with relief engraving that echos the outer lid.
Traditionally, boxes were considered prized possessions and customarily used to store wealth or special ceremonial objects such as masks, rattles, clothing and adornments. People often gave names to these beautiful ornate boxes, told stories about their histories and treated them as family heirlooms. However, non-decorated boxes acted as instruments of life – from storing less precious articles, to food and later used for mortuary purposes. In Haida mythology, a stack of boxes contained the essence from which Raven created the world.
Eagle, Dogfish, Beaver and Frog Box retains its traditional elements through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline of this treasure. The gently angled lid with Abalone inlay, as well as the engraved and incised elements on the box is suggestive of the prototypic bent cornered wooden boxes and chests.
The box contains not only depictions of four important crest animals, but connects to past traditions in which a box held more than the material object, it also linked people to their heritage, lineage and each other.