An important young artist in the burgeoning renaissance of Coast Salish art, John Marston uses his exceptional carving talent to revitalize and advance the traditional formline technique. John employs a “shifting formline” technique, in which the intersection of lines is accentuated by the use of three-dimensional space. Subtly creative, he works within the traditional style while constantly exploring new styles and techniques.
The son of artists Jane and David Marston, John started carving at the age of eight. He refined his art as an adult while working in Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C. John has had the opportunity to work with many Northwest Coast artists, including Simon Charlie, Wayne Young, Shawn Karpes, Silus Coon, Gary Peterson and his brother Luke Marston. While some of his pieces represent personal experiences and human emotion, others are the result of John’s extensive research into old Coast Salish art and traditions.
John's carvings have increasingly been shown in museums across North America. Most recently his large free standing panel, called’ehhwe’p syuth (To Share History), has been placed at the entrance to the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. His work can also be found on display at the Vancouver International Airport and the new Vancouver Convention Center. Last year John and his brother took part in an exhibit at the Prince Takamoto Gallery at the Canadian Embassy in Japan. The show titled Bridging the Pacific was enjoyed by many. John was recently honoured as a recipient of the B.C Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art. His work can be found throughout different publications and is held in many prominent private collections.
“I am inspired by the lives of my Ancestors and the lives of our people today. I am part of an ancient tradition that continues to evolve and grow, this fills my heart with joy.
Carving the pieces in this collection has been a great honor for me. The title claims to Honor our Coast Salish ancestors and I believe there are many different Salish traditions that do this.
To honor our people’s heritage is to be honest and truthful with all the teachings I have learned.
I gave each piece the time and careful planning it would need.
These pieces share our history and our people’s spiritual connection to our traditional lands.
I continue to learn about my heritage and stay close to the great spirit.
By keeping our ancient traditions alive and learning lessons that have almost been lost, I believe that this brings Honor to our Ancient Ones.”
- John Marston