Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Tom Eneas

Coast Salish, Tsimshian

(1970- )

Tom Eneas was born on October 4, 1970 in Penticton, British Columbia. Tom was first introduced to his Coast Salish heritage by his mother Verna Baker after they moved to Vancouver in 1989. Prior to this, he had very little exposure to his cultural Heritage. He began a search for knowledge that eventually led him to a study of Northwest Coast art.

His earliest investigations were into the meaning and design concepts of traditional two dimensional form. His mother had presented him with Hilary Stewart’s book “Looking at the Art of the Northwest Coast”. He finally understood design after overcoming a barrier of understanding where he began to render shapes to create a silhouette instead of a silhouette containing shapes.

In 1994 he picked up his first carving knife and began to carve two dimensional designs. This was later expanded into three dimensional forms such as masks, ceremonial bowls, and utensils. Later the same year, he was offered the opportunity to study with Kwak-waka’wakw artist Kevin Cranmer which became an eight month apprenticeship program.

Tom is essentially self-taught although he has been influenced by other artists for various reasons. His early exposure to Tsimshian art through Art Bolton and other northern carvers such as Norman Tait, Terry Starr, Don Yeomans, Dempsey Bob and Walter Harris offered him into the both the contemporary and historical directions of the art form.

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Artist Contemporaries