Although no one in Joseph Wilson’s immediate family made art, the Kwakwaka’wakw artist, born in Alert Bay in 1966, was interested in art from a very young age. He says, “I have drawn many different styles of art. I felt that I was going to be an artist in one way or another.” At twelve, he took a design course from Doug Cranmer. The class, a birthday gift from his sister, was his “first formal exposure to art.” Alert Bay was an important learning ground for Wilson, as he worked with and was inspired by older carvers such as Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick. “There is no substitute for working with experienced artists that have been taught by older, more experienced artists that came before them,” he notes.
Excerpt from Challenging Traditions, Ian M. Thom, 2009