Victor Michael West, Tlingit, Raven, did not plan to be a carver, he planned to make movies. While growing up, he preferred to study engineering and physics, technical applications that
he planned would one day add to his abilities as a director. As well as drawing, painting, animation and music. When not studying or in the forest, his spare time was spent indulging in extreme sports, skate-snow-surf boarding, dance, and defensive Arts.
Born an only child, but subsequently raised with two younger step brothers from the age of four. Before he could hold a pencil, Victor began to draw.
A significant early influence came from his summers on Barclay Sound at Toquat Bay, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
He studied engineering Art and Music. Worked to Journeyman as a mason finisher, then went back into ad design, web design and print. It took 5 years to quit his job as a Commercial designer and pre press technician.
In the meantime, West, began to hone his skills as a Northwest Coast 1st Nations carver.
He spent many years as a commercial artist, web developer/designer, musician and animator, but could not get form line out of his mind. He left a steady job and spent his first few years as a carver “starving.” Since the economic downturn of the new century, he remarks “finances are still very tight.” His first major totem commission came in 2003, when a local entrepreneur hired him to create a 23-foot pole. That first pole was raised in the penthouse courtyard high atop the Escher Wing of the Grace Building in Downtown Vancouver.
Creating original contemporary pieces incorporating the one account of ratios of traditional work is more challenging for him, “Reproducing the old sensibilities is more difficult than it first appears.” “I think it’s a… this continuing process,” West
remarks, “a continual flow of learning, pressing finding the slightest touch, or sense of tenser topography, we can not help but impress our signature upon it.”
Mr. West also carves canoes, paddles, panels, masks, bentwood boxes and more. Many of his Art works are commissioned by wealthy patrons or corporate collectors. The size and intricacy attenuate the current premium.
Victor Michael West is of Tlingit, Cree and Irish ancestry and currently resides in Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada. His awareness of his ancestry grew through extended journeys deep into the myriad terrain he has ranged. Initially,
His very early life was influenced as he began studying art with Thunderbird Jack.
A self-taught artist he discovered and studied First Nation Masters – Bill Reid, Robert Davidson, Charles Edenshaw and Dempsey Bob. Victor has studied various mediums and has worked with notable Artist’s – Thunderbird Jack, Dr. “Old Bill” Holm, and Clarence Mills.