Kaaseiyi (2021)

(2021) woodwork canoe

 

This canoe is named Kaaseiyi, meaning voice of man. The canoe is named after Nahaan’s father Roger Alexander. Roger was Kaigani Haida, from double headed eagle, frog, beaver clan. From Hydaburg AK. Traditionally in native culture mostly men build canoes, and traditionally in western culture boats are given the gender of female. With Kaaseiyi, Nahaan intentionally separates this act of love and remembrance from western practise and expectations, and firmly sets this gift as a gift of not only memory but of tradition and cultural responsibility. A vessel for learning and growing family, through songs, protocol, and leadership.

 

I was asked by Nahaan if I could help build Kaaseiyi after the cedar strips had been formed and set into their place to make the dugout canoe shape. We began by prepping for delivery to the fiberglasser. After fiberglass had been applied both inside and out, we sanded it down to a smooth state. We landed at our first generous work space offering at the Museum of Museums (MoM) in Seattle. While at MoM, we cut the rough shapes for the in and out wales, and the bow and stern top pieces. We steam bent the in and out wales and attached them. Then it was time to move to our next generous work space offering provided by Vermillion Art Gallery also in Seattle. While at Vermillion, we steam bent the rails that sit on top of the in and out wales, steam bent and attached the risers that the seats rest on, and we cut and fitted four seats. At this point we began to clean, shape and refine the overall body. 

 

Each work session would start with sage, and at the end of the work day, songs would be sung to Kaaseiyi. Our last step was painting, starting with primer, sanding, primer, sanding, and probably a little more primer once the surface was as smooth as we thought we could get it. Then we started adding color, and delineating shapes. The shape that the black makes on the outside is referencing the belly of the killer whale. Many more coats of marine grade paint, a little wax, and we were ready to have a naming ceremony and launch. 

 

On a perfectly beautiful overcast rainy Sunday afternoon at Golden Gardens, we formally named the canoe Kaaseiyi. A representative from the Duwamish Tribe attended and gave us permission to launch, have a safe journey, and come back again soon. We loaded up seven deep, and pushed off into the water, watching as the small crowd of attendees sang us songs and danced on the beach. The sea lions and eagles were circling and watching us as we pulled our way around the buoy and back to the beach.
 
What a gift to help my best friend build this boat, we both built this with no prior experience in building a canoe. We could not have done this without the guidance of master canoe builders, Wayne Price, Beau Wagner, Dale Bekkela, Joe Martin, Al Charles, and Stormy Hamar from up the coast to Canada and AK. The reverence for the craft of building a vessel that holds human life in the water is a profound learning lesson. I’m thankful to have been given the chance to share in this truly amazing process. In the near future, we will decide upon native formline designs that will rest on the outside of Kaaseiyi.

NAMING CEREMONY

 

Rockland Building (2018-present)

(2018-present) carpentry building apprenticeship

 

Part of each year is spent working towards further realisation of artist residency space in the forest nearby the Olympic mountain range. I have for some time wanted to learn the skills needed to build my own home. Being an artist allows me to shape and align my life and schedule in the directions that I find relevant. Helping Shawn Landis and Jodi Rockwell realise their ideas and dreams has been a beautiful escape from city life and invaluable learning experience. 
Rockland

 

Stage by stage we lay out plans and build new additions to the land, ranging from renovations to existing structures, cement forms, forest baths, cedar hot tub, woodshop, ceramics studio, live work space, and soon to start a treehouse. I cherish each new project in this lush green forest. With each new step I am reminded of the feelings I had when visiting and performing at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts in 2007

 

Cardinal (2017)

(2017) Painting. Exhibited at Seattle Art Fair, Out of Sight, Seattle WA. 

 

This painting is a further step in the direction of building my own painting surfaces. For many years I have been building the frames my paintings go on to, and for some time I have wanted to create an asymmetrical frame to better follow the shape of my works. This is the first true venture into this new idea. This involved more than twenty individual parts, both glued and nailed together. Once the frame and surface had been built, sanded, and primed, I then placed the already created vinyl sticker onto the surface of the wood frame. The vinyl sticker had been gradually developed over the previous three years, incorporating both adhesive vinyl, acrylic paint and block print. This is probably not the most efficient way to create this work and in the future I plan to build the frame first then make the painting/mixed media work on the surface. It was very stressful affixing the premade vinyl sticker to the already built frame, there was absolutely no margin for error. With each work, new lessons are learned. I absolutely love how this piece turned out in the end. This work has since been sold.

 

Tiny Home (2015)

(2015) Center on Contemporary Art Un[contained] Residency, Seattle

 

I had recently been in the Bay Area performing and was struck by the tiny movable homes taking up no more than a parking space, I saw lining the streets in West Oakland. Upon learning I had been awarded this residency, I felt compelled to explore these movable tiny houses for myself, as I had not seen anything of this sort in the Northwest despite rampant homlessness. 
Using salvaged wood in tandem with other recycled/donated resources, I created a portable living space. By painting the exterior of the structure I aimed to make this home command the attention of those who would rather choose to ignore the state of homelessness and displacement in our area. The home acts as a billboard, stating in the most matter of fact way the basic necessity of having a roof over one’s head. Voicing through words the needed legislative action of RENT CONTROL to help create sensible affordable homes for those in need.
I can’t help but notice the increase in the past ten years of people living on the streets in Seattle, especially in the last three years. Can this temporary home be a sense of pride for the inhabitant? Could this action open the eyes of developers?

 

Addressing An Issue

Bald Man Show (2008)

(2008) solo art show, the Anne Bonny, Seattle

 

For this, my first solo visual art exhibition, I created fifty new paintings on built and stretched wooden frames. I experimented with a variety of surfaces for painting on, from silk, canvas, wood, vinyl and foam core. Each new work was of the Bald Man, a character I have been developing since 2001. The Bald Man is a tool for experimentation through visual art, murals, posters, printing, and ceramics and has become known amongst local graffiti works in the city. A tool to learn through, I have  committed to reproducing this image over the rest of my life.