Animal Totems--a new series

For over thirty years, my parents had an Airstream trailer dealership which, in accordance with our family's love of puns, they named Totem Trailers (towed'em, get it?). Perhaps it was a childhood surrounded by the logo of a totem--on the road sign, their letterhead, their business cards--but I've always had an affection for this iconic image.

Recently, I noticed a billboard ad for one of the four (?) pet supply stores in our small village.  It featured a Golden Retriever with a bird perched on top of its head, and the store name was "All For Pets." It got me thinking about the role pets play in our contemporary households.  Research indicates that, in 2015, Canadians spent $4.1 billion on their pets. Somehow the image of the dog/bird, and my thoughts on pets, and the totem image, all came together and I imagined a totem of pets. This idea has little to do with First Nations totems; rather, it represents a message about what we revere, what we spend our time, money, and resources on. Please note, no judgement of pet owners is intended (I have had many beloved pet companions myself!)--just thinking about our value system...

So here's the first result, which uses some of the same techniques as my recent Pacific Northwest bird series:

Pet Totem  Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200

Pet Totem Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200


Having completed this image, I found that the idea went further.  How about another totem of the 'wild' equivalents to these pets?  Do we give as much value, time, and money to these animals as we do our pets?  Something to think about...

Wild Totem  Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200

Wild Totem Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200

I'm still thinking--perhaps a totem of agricultural animals (chicken, pig, cow, horse?) and one of endangered animals (elephant, panda, cheetah, gorilla, condor?).  Not sure where this series might yet take me...we shall see.

An Update on these two pieces--they were selected for installation at the brand new Gibsons Public Health Unit (located opposite the Wheatberries Cafe, on the Sunshine Coast Highway in Gibsons). I hope they bring much enjoyment to the staff and patients for many years! At the official opening on January 11, I was touched by my conversation with the Squamish Elder who blessed the unit--he supported my message about valuing animals of all kinds, and generously sanctioned my use of the First Nations symbol of the totem.  As he said, "It's all the same thing, the same message!"