Susan PointSusan A. Point is a Coast Salish native artist. She was born in 1952 and lives in Vancouver BC, Canada. Susan has immersed herself in a study of traditional Coast Salish art, and emerged with the language of design both authentic yet vibrantly contemporary. As well as practicing traditional motifs, Susan also expresses her own personal style. Susan initially began producing fine art in precious metals, serigraphs, woodblock prints and acrylic paintings. Her fine art pieces can be found in collections worldwide. Susan’s images are also sought after by corporate sector for logos and sensitive environmental issues. In 1990, she began exploring and creating large scale public art in various mediums; some of those mediums being stainless steel, glass, bronze, concrete, wood, terra cotta and forton casting. Her work in a large scale has since led to a collaboration with developers and architects; integrating her art into sights at the design stage. After several projects were realized, it was obvious Susan was leaving a Coast Salish footprint upon the land. Susan’s large scale works welcome visitors at the Vancouver International Airport as well as public buildings and corporate developments on both sides of the Canada/US boarders paying tribute to the First People’s of these countries and reminding us of these areas rich in cultural history. Susan is realizing her vision which will, no doubt, inspire artists and admirers for generations to come.
From the Artist: “Coast Salish art was relatively unknown to most people today as it was an almost lost art form after European contact—the reason being is that Salish lands were the first to be settled by the Europeans which adversely affected my peoples traditional life-style.
Today much of the native art associated with the Pacific northwest coast is from principle tribes of northern British Columbia. Because of this, over the years I spent a great deal of my time, as a Coast Salish artist trying to revive traditional Coast Salish art in an attempt to educate the public to the fact that there was, and still is, another art form indigenous to the central Pacific northwest coast.
Although most of my earlier work is very traditional, today, I am experimenting with contemporary mediums and themes, however, I still incorporate my ancestral design elements into my work to keep it uniquely Salish. Sometimes I address issues of gender conditioning as well as social and economic conditions.
In creating my art, I feel a need to continually express my cultural background and beliefs yet, at the same time, my work continues to evolve with changes within and outside of my community.”
Often, the statements about my works are constructed from words I have chosen from the writings of others. I seem to find the right words or words that can better express my feelings more accurately about a certain piece from the writings of others than I can in my own words.
It has been said that if a visual artist could sum up their works in words, they would probably have been writers instead, and I believe this is true. When I create a visual piece of art, it is my hands, my heart, and my soul that are involved, and they all work together within a language that knows no words. Also, the involvement I have with a piece of work, from its inception to the point when a viewer has with a piece of my work is personal to them, and that experience and their interpretation of the work is as valuable as my own intentions and must be respected. My statement would only ever reflect one view or opinion.
People like to see write-ups and statements from an artist on their work and I do try to accommodate this when possible, particularly when a piece is inspired by a specific event or situation. In the same light, when a piece contains images of cultural significance, representing specific meaning, I will include this in a statement. An example of this is the salmon – a creature of great importance to the Coast Salish people, representing wealth and the cycle of life. As well, I often note in statements that they are usually carved in pairs for good luck. During the process of creating, however, many aspects of my work cannot be defined in words or in statement.