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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
|Dimensions||2 x 0.25 "|
Gryn White’s aboriginal name Duugwi.is means “Strong Haida”, and he has descended from an impressive lineage of renowned artists. His great-great grandfather is Charles Edenshaw (1839-1920), a chief of thee StA’stas Eagle clan and who was considered the most influential Haida artist of his time. One of Charles’ granddaughters Lavine White, the daughter of Emily Edenshaw and Henry White had a son Greg Lightbown who is Gryn’s father.
Gryn is a part of the Raven clan and his crests include the Bear, Killerwhale and Shark (Dogfish).
His father was an argillite carver for over 40 years, but he credits his grandmother with the impetus to become an artist. At first, his parents tried to discourage him because the profession is unpredictable and it can be a struggle to follow in his elder’s footsteps.
Gryn pursued his passion and began to carve in his early teens by providing assistance to his father. When he completed school, he moved from Old Masset in Haida Gwaii to Vancouver to attend Langara Community College where he studied fine arts in design and art history.
Impressed with learning about contemporary art, he took this awareness of seeing and identifying negative space, balance, symmetry, shape, line and form back to the Haida design principles and applied it to the rules of formline design.
“I began to see the rules of Haida design as deeply rooted in our culture. It gave me the understanding of what Charles Edenshaw and Tom Price had achieved, and what Bill Reid has restored to Haida art. They became my teachers.”
“I want to create contemporary Haida art within these traditional boundaries. I’m not much interested in coming up with a new form of Haida art. I want to honour and feel continuity with the past.”
For now, Gryn is completely immersed in learning about the traditional formand exploring the tension between “old style” and original innovation with the intention of developing his own personal style. Still, he proudly acknowledges his strongest inspiration is his father and has always recognized that he wishes to be just like him.
Gryn continues to perfect his work and is continuously involved with ideas. He has filled many sketchbooks and credits the argillite stone with suggesting the form that it will take. As a perfectionist, he’s meticulous and precise, and he uses embellishments of prized Abalone shell, Catlanite and bone.
This is a meaningful art form for Gryn, one connects him to Haida Gwaii, his people and the land and animals of his island home.
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Sterling silver, Engraved
The Supernatural Log is more commonly referred to as Snag or Ts’Amos (Alternate spellings: Ttaamuus, Tsamaos). He is the personification of the seafaring Haidas’ obstacles while on the ocean in canoes; driftwood or deadheads. The Snag is an amorphous supernatural creature both in artwork and in legend and first appeared as a crest figure of families along the Skeena River. It is believed to have first appeared on jewelry designs by the famed Charles Edenshaw, whose father took the Snag as a crest.
A Snag can vary in appearance, much like the driftwood it imitates, but it almost always has a snag (deadhead) for a dorsal fin. It can be as simple as a dead log with a tail that can swim against the current. It can be a huge sea lion with dorsal fins and blowholes, or an enormous grizzly bear with a downturned mouth like a dogfish. It can be a hybrid of bear and Killerwhale, or raven and Killerwhale, with multiple bodies. It can be a large frog covered in seaweed with a snag sticking out of its back, and can even be a canoe or a schooner. Most visible at the change of tides, the Snag, if angered can breach and land on canoes, smashing them to bits. He also can make huge waves to capsize boats. The Snag was frequently featured as a protective figure on Bentwood Boxes that contained treasured artifacts, and is frequently depicted with Raven, its counterpart.
The Snag is a very important feature in the Haida legend of How the World Was Formed. Before there was the world as we know it, Raven was flying and flying and flying, and finally came to rest on a single rock, which was the tip of Haida Gwaii and the beginning of the world. This rock, was supported beneath (from the undersea world) by a stone house pole, which was in fact the fin of the Snag. It is therefore common to see the Raven and Snag in conjunction in Haida art. The Snag figure can be seen as an acceptance of responsibility for supporting the world, similar to the Atlas figure in Greek mythology.
It is believed the legends around the Snag was a warning for those who travelled by canoe to be more wary of their surroundings, especially at the change of the tides, and keep them alert on the water. When the tides change, deadheads and hidden logs or obstacles can suddenly appear and be a danger. As the Haida relied on trade with Mainland Nations to survive, it was pertinent for them to be adept at sea, paddling the vast distances to and from the islands to the coast.