Stz’uminus carver John Marston at work in a studio space at the Expo building on Oyster Bay Drive.

Stz’uminus carver John Marston at work in a studio space at the Expo building on Oyster Bay Drive.

John Marston’s art chosen for BC Ferry’s Salish Eagle

One of three aboriginal artists selected by BC Ferries to design art for the new Salish Class vessels

Stz’uminus artist John Marston is one of three aboriginal artists selected by BC Ferries to design art for the new Salish Class vessels, which go into service starting in 2016.

Marston will be providing a design for the Salish Eagle, which is scheduled to begin on a route in the southern Gulf Islands in 2017.

Also selected from 37 artists, who submitted work for consideration, was: Darlene Gait of Esquimalt Nation, who will provide a design for the Salish Orca, which goes into service on the Powell River – Comox run in 2016; and Thomas Cannell from Musqueam, who will provide a design for the Salish Raven, which will be on a southern Gulf Island route starting in 2017.

“I would like to thank BC Ferries for the opportunity they have created for our Coast Salish Nations,” Marston said.

“This art work will help create a dialogue amongst all cultures living here in B.C. It speaks to the importance of what it means to our traditional way of life as First Nations here on the coast.”

A call for artists was issued by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council last August, and Coast Salish artists were invited to submit their portfolios for consideration.

From 37 expressions of interest, a jury of artist peers and BC Ferries representatives identified a shortlist of nine artists.

Their decisions were based on artistic excellence, Coast Salish artistic style, ability to express the vessel names through their artwork, ability to provide digital images for fabrication and ability to meet the project timeline.

“We received many worthy submissions and it was a challenging task to narrow it down to just a few artists,” said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ vice president of marketing and Travel Services.

“These ships will serve coastal communities for years to come and we look forward to seeing the artists’ work adorn the vessels and represent the rich culture and heritage of our coast.”

The Salish Class ferries are currently under construction at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland.

Marston’s public works include pieces at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, the Vancouver and Nanaimo Airports, the Vancouver Convention Centre and The Department of National Defense. His work is also in private collections worldwide.

He first started carving at the age of eight. In earlier years, his parents Jane and David Marston and Simon Charlie began teaching him carving and the legends of the Coast Salish people.