Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“composition # I: ups and downs”


This was taken from a design I sketched out about 23 years ago as I was on the way home from my first year teaching in Gjoa Haven, NWT. I was on the plane on my way home at the end of the year and, to pass the time, was working on some designs for earrings that I was planning to make for Christmas presents. Having both seats next to me empty, I was able to spread out my designs on the seats. Time flies (pardon the pun!), when you are into some creativity.

Eventually the pilot comes on over the speaker system and tells us that we are beginning our descent into Toronto… and its time to put away things and buckle up. I’m rushing to get all the papers and pencils put away as we land. With everything packed - or so I thought - and now ready to make the next plane connection, I de-board and off I go.

It wasn’t until later when I unpacked that I realized I had forgot my design book on one of the planes. I never did see that book again… all that was left were a few pages with the rough designs and a couple of photocopied pages of other designs, similar but not as good. From the better of the rough designs I did end up making the earrings, but have always rather wished I had that book so I could make those other earrings!

This piece is from one if the better designs I made up back then. I changed it a little from the original, adding the shape that partly circles his head. I added this to balance the piece, compositionally, and this is also why I gave him brass toe nails, to draw the viewer around the piece.

He’s all thumbs and left feet, that’s why he has quite a few “ups and downs.”

—Michael Massie

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

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. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.