New Bloom 2

Part of a set of 3 paintings

Acrylic on canvas

24” x 24”

Artist/Curatorial Statement

One aspect of Coast Salish culture has always been of deep interest: the artwork. My love for traditional artwork has stayed strong for my entire life, so, I decided to pursue a career as a Coast Salish artist. Through my training as an artist, my love for Coast Salish traditions has deepened and this appreciation has heavily influenced my relationship with the urban culture I live in.

In the artwork selected for the Urban Thunderbirds exhibition, I have used symbolism to explore what it means to be a First Nations person living in an urban Western culture. As a professional First Nations artist, the exploration of the urban First Nation identity becomes very important if I am to remain true to the principles that these traditional art forms were built upon.

When one makes a living selling art, it can be easy to become more focused on the business aspect of the art than on the creative, spiritual aspect. In many contemporary forms of art, a completely business-minded approach may not be an issue, but in a traditional art form like Coast Salish art, which has been built upon a spiritual and ethical framework, I believe that the artwork will suffer if the artist is not always reminding himself about the fundamental principles of the art form.

By exploring these issues in Urban Thunderbirds, I hope to remind First Nation artists – and especially myself – to not get completely swept away in the necessary capitalist aspects of being a professional artist, and to remain true to the specific principles of these profound traditional art forms.

Dylan Thomas


With the platform offered by the Urban Thunderbirds exhibition and publication, I knew there was a wealth of experimentation and exploration that lessLIE was eager to engage through his work. As part of the collaboration, lessLIE chose to include fellow Coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas, who, as an emerging artist, has already created a distinct style. His work is influenced not only by the mentorship of Northwest Coast artists from this region, but also by the structure and formal elements seen in Eastern religious work, like the Buddhist mandala, and by the artistic tessellations of Dutch artist M.C. Escher

NIcole Stanbridge, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Exhibition(s): Urban Thunderbirds - Ravens in a Material World

Legacy: National Gallery of Canada