ROY HENRY VICKERS GALLERY

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers is best known around the world for his limited edition prints. He is also an accomplished carver, design advisor of prestigious public spaces, a sought-after keynote speaker, and publisher and author of several successful books.

In addition, he is a recognized leader in the First Nations community, and a tireless spokesperson for recovery from addictions and abuse.

Roy has received many awards and honours for his art and community involvement. Among them are a hereditary chieftainship and several hereditary names he has received from Northwest Coast First Nations.

In 1994, Maclean's magazine included Roy as the first artist ever in its Annual Honour Roll of Extraordinary Canadian Achievers. In 1998, the Province of British Columbia appointed Roy to the prestigious Order of B.C. and in 2003, Roy received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2003, a video featuring Roy was part of the successful Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid.

In 1987, at the Commonwealth Summit in Vancouver, the original of Roy's painting A Meeting of Chiefs was the official gift of the Province of British Columbia to Queen Elizabeth II. Limited edition prints of the painting were presented to the 48 Commonwealth Heads of State.

During their Vancouver Summit in 1993, former Soviet Union leader Boris Yeltsin and former U.S. president Bill Clinton received artist's proofs of Roy's print The Homecoming as the Province's official gift.

 

Roy's work can be found in private and public collections and galleries around the world including the National Museum of Man (Ottawa, Ontario), University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver, British Columbia), the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario) and the National Museum of Japan (Osaka).

Roy Henry Vickers was born in June 1946 in the village of Greenville, in northern British Columbia. Roy has stayed on the northwest coast of British Columbia ever since, residing at various times in Hazelton, Kitkatla, Tofino and Victoria.

Roy's love and respect of the magnificent natural beauty of this area is clearly evident in his art. His boldly colourful sunsets, subdued misty rivers and peaceful winter scenes reflect the essence of the west coast of Canada.

Roy's father was a fisherman with the blood of three northwest coast First Nations' Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk flowing in his veins. Roy's mother was a schoolteacher whose parents had immigrated to Canada from England. This unusual mixed heritage has had a strong influence on Roy's art.

Roy studied traditional First Nations art and design at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art in Hazelton.

Using these building blocks Roy, through hard work and intensive research, created his authentic and personal style of expression - a harmonious fusion of traditional and contemporary, old and new, personal and universal.

In many of his pieces, Roy uses superimposed 'shadow images' that add another layer of depth, history and myth to his clear, clean images. His signature Eagle Moon and various suns appear on many pieces as well.

The resulting art touches deeply and is accessible to people all over the world regardless of their background, age, beliefs or traditions.

Success and Diversity

The success of Roy's gallery is a remarkable example of the universal appeal of his art. The Gallery is a traditional northwest coast longhouse Roy built in 1986 in the village of Tofino, on the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island.

An artist-owned gallery was - and still is - a rarity and at best a risky business, let alone one built far away from the media and the art-buying public. Today, Roy Henry Vickers Gallery welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year from around the world and it is one of the area's main attractions.

Also in 2004, Roy returned with his family to Hazelton, where he now lives and works by the majestic Skeena River.

Roy has completed more than 26 totem poles including the 10-metre (30-foot) Salmon Totem for the 1994 Commonwealth Games' aquatic centre near Victoria. In addition, Roy was the artistic advisor to the architects and designers of the entire venue.

In 1987-1995, Roy was the artistic advisor for the Vancouver International Airport's new terminal. He was also commissioned to create retail storefronts at both the domestic and international terminals.

totem pole

Roy's designs and carvings can also be found in luxury hotels and private homes, on airplanes and motorcycles, canoes and paddles, glass pieces and even on food packaging. 

Roy is the author of Solstice: The Art of Roy Henry Vickers (1988) and Spirit Transformed: A Journey from Tree to Totem (1996), Copperman - The Art of Roy Henry Vickers (2003) Raven Brings the Light (2013), Cloudwalker (2014), Orca Chief (2015) and the illustrator of the best-selling book The Elders Are Watching (1990). In 2014, Roy published his long-awaited third milestone book Storyteller - The Art of Roy Henry Vickers, which is a substantial retrospective of his work and images of the past 10 years.

Roy Henry Vickers is a prolific artist who in addition to his many other artistic endeavours and community interests creates a steady flow of new limited edition prints each year. Many are sold out within months to regular collectors and fans who feel a personal connection with not only the art but with the artist.