Nathaniel Wilkerson

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My Native American ancestry is through the Gitxsan tribe in Hazelton (Gitanmaax) B.C. Canada. I am a member of the Wolf clan (Lax Gibuu), house of "Amaget". My mother's grandparents are Peter Gordon Wilson and Amelia Angus both from the Hazelton / Kispiox (Ans'payaxw) area. I was raised in Terrace, B.C. and spent most of my time working on our family farm, Skeena River Vegetable Farms.

At the age of 10 I was first introduced to our artwork by two different instructors (Randy Adams and Robert Stanley) who came to the elementary school (Cassie Hall Elementary School) and taught a number of indian art lessons to our fourth grade class. Both instructors were very skilled artist and that first impression left a lasting mark in my mind.

At age 11, I attended a seminar put on by Freda Diesing at the Northern Lights Art Studio. My mother was the one who wanted me to attend and after the lecture she approached Freda and arranged private lessons, so that I could be properly schooled in the arts of my people. From January 1984 until March 1985 I received private lessons drawing and carving lessons through Freda Diesing. I learned the basic rules and concepts of the artwork and became familiar with most of the animals and their distinguishing characteristics (ie. wolf, eagle, bear, beaver, hawk, raven etc...) I was also fortunate in that we spent a good deal of time actually carving out a number of pieces from Red Cedar and Yellow Cedar. From this I was able to learn the basics of wood carving (bas relief only) and how to take a piece from simple artwork to a finished product.

I owe a great deal to Freda Diesing for the training I have received and also for the influence her work has had on my own. I feel compelled to also mention other great artists whose work has had a significant impact on me. This list includes but is not limited to: Charles Edenshaw, Bill Reid, Robert Davidson, Don Yeomans and most recently David A. Boxley.

My wife is very supportive of my artwork and often helps in the composition of many of the pieces. We have five very active children and it is only with her support that I am able to take the time to generate new ideas and then execute them to the best of my ability.

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson



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