Stan Greene

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Stan Greene

First Nations, Semiahmoo, born 1953

Stan Greene is a Salish artist born in Mission, British Columbia on April 15,1953, part of
the Semiamho band. His mother was Halkomelum (Sto Lo) and his father was from ·
Semiahmo (White Rock). His grandfather on his father's side was full blooded Nez Perz
that traces back to the great Chief Joseph. He was raised by his grandparents and
exposed to Salish culture from an early age.
He began carving at the age of 13. His grandfather had a small collection of carvings
and a set of carving tools that Stan studied with as a young man. At the age of 21 he •
began carving for a living and in 1977 he attended the Kasan School of Art where he
learned northern (Tsimshian) design. His teachers were Walter Harris, Ken Mowatt, Earl
Muldoe and Vernon Stevens. In 1978 he did his first Salish designs for the limited
edition prints, "Human and Thunderbird" and "Man with Wolves", which are considered
to be the first examples of pure Salish design to be marketed in the Northwest Coast art
scene. In 1978, at the age of twenty-five, Stan produced his first Salish prints, inspired
by carved Spindle Whorls, used by the Salish as a tool to spin Mountain Goat wool. At
this point in time he actively began to pursue a revival of his forefathers' heritage.
Because of the overwhelming influence of European culture in the Fraser Valley, and
because of the privacy among the various nations, it prevented the northern nations
from sharing their art with the Salish people. The wood carvers in the north thought it
was amusing that I wanted to carve, Stan recalls of the 'Ksan, They laughed, and said
the Salish people did not know how to carve.
Nevertheless, Stan spent six months in 1975 learning from northern carvers, living near
Hazelton, and his former hobby has become his profession. I always wanted to do
Salish carving, he explains, but there was no market until I started to do the Spindle
Whorl designs.
Salish representation is more Life-like and realistic in comparison to northern tradition.
He carved at Expo 86 in Vancouver representing the Salish people and has traveled to
Japan where a 27' pole that he carved was raised in Kanazawa Park in Yokohama. Stan
now carves in both the northern style and the Salish style but he believes that they
should not be mixed. There was no one to teach him the Salish design forms so he did
his own research, studying the old pieces in the British Columbia Museum of
Anthropology and questioning the elders in his community. Today there is still only a
handful of artists that understand the Salish art form.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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