Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild Series 1977 January 24, 2014 19:14

The 1977 Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild Series was one of the first projects and publications on contemporary Northwest Coast design. Native Art Prints is constantly striving to attain prints from this series to pass on to our customers. Originally released at the Vancouver Art Gallery and promoted through a catalogue produced by the federal Canadian Indian Marketing Services, the guild graphics collection was generated and organized by the artists themselves.

 

Northwest Coast Artist Guild 1978 Cover

 

The series included graphic artists such as Robert Davidson, Joe David, Gerry Marks, and Francis Williams who are now considered to be amongst the best designers of modern Northwest Coast Art. Many of the prints included in this collection were identified as iconic soon after publication. Screen-printing programs were offered during the early years at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast art in Hazelton and established an interest among the artists and the potential for prints in the emerging market. For the first few years, because of the insignificant values the prints were being sold for, the artists were producing very large editions. Over time, galleries replaced tourist shops and graphics began to earn a respected position in the fine art market - and the artists began to realize that the only way to make the art collectable was to make smaller editions.

 

Double-Finned Killerwhale by Robert Davidson

 

 

The Guild Series was produced in small editions on archival paper and played with grander scale images. In the words of Robert Davidson: “It was time to take prints from the back bedroom to the living room.” Native Art Prints has the above print - Raven-Finned Killerwhale by Robert Davidson - available for sale. A second series of prints was released in 1978 which did very well, and a third was released in 1979. These three publication projects established printmaking as a standard mode of production for First Nations artists on the West Coast.