Sunday, July 19, 2009

True Native Art

True art by Makah tribal members

I've seen tourists trolling for fake native stuff, just "something that looks Injun," because they think the Neah Bay prices are too high. And -- sadly -- artists actually considering doing it, when they only know as much about the art form as they've seen driving by a totem pole.

Nearest commissioned a Makah silver wrist cuff. I've been hinting for one of these for years, ever since we moved up here. I didn't want one just bought out of the glass counter. Click here to see it.

That cost us a mere $175.00. A bracelet like this -- with overhead costs, including research, travel, transportation, advertising, storage, etc. -- would cost over $350.00 in any Seattle gallery. It could come to $500.00 in a German gallery.

And it's the real thing, from a recognized artist.

Speaking of recognized artists, Frank Smith's totem poles are all over Neah Bay. Their style, while within the tradition, is so individual they're easy to spot. One of them is in the mall at the corner of Highway 112 and Frontier Street, in Clallam Bay. There's another in Port Orchard, on southern docks. And another I'm pretty sure is his on the grounds of an apartment complex in Bremerton.