Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada.
Michael Massie was born in 1962 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, to parents of mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish descent. His mother hoped he would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a fireman, but when Massie saw the hardships his father endured fighting fires, he decided to pursue art.
It started with comic strips. “When I was eight, I’d open Richie Rich or Hot Stuff and draw every caption, every little block, from beginning to end,” Massie remembers. “Over the years, I taught myself that way, and it has helped me have a steady hand when I’m doing master drawings for my teapots or putting detail on my carvings.”
After completing a certificate in commercial art and a diploma in visual arts at the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland, Massie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in jewellery from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. “I fell in love with the smell of the metal and the feel of the studio,” he recalls. “I knew I was in the right spot.”
During college, Massie began to explore his Inuit heritage. His work blends the old and the new—traditional Inuit images and western art influences and techniques—into a distinctive contemporary style.
—excerpt from Sonia Gunderson, “Michael Massie: Playing in his own world.” Inuit Art Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3&4, Fall/Winter 2004. pp 32-37
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
47 Water Street
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