The earliest influence in my life was Benjamin Chee Chee. He was basically a self taught artist and a prominent member of the Woodland Indian group of painters and though he died tragically young, he began something very new in the group by simplifying form and creating slightly abstracted images. He also moved away from narrative story telling, something that I tend to enjoy in my own work which is probably why I like writing artist's statements.
Chee Chee's work was the first original artwork I was exposed to at a very young age and it still fascinates me. In honour of his work, I incorporated some of his line drawing into a few of my 'Sacred Vessel' pieces and even created one of the 52 WEEKS Totem Animals, Goose, as a tribute to him. In 'The Village' (above) I added my version of his print titled 'Friends' as every time I looked at his image since I was a child I always thought of the adage 'It takes a village to raise a child.'