Alano Edzerza is a thirty-year-old Tahltan artist whose work ranges from architectural commissions and uniforms for the Dutch Olympic team to T-shirts and hoodies. Although he sometimes duplicates the same design in different media a little too often, on the whole, his work is a good example of how you can find something for every budget in Northwest Coast art. So long as you’re not looking for one-of-a-kind pieces, you can often find pieces of work for $200-$500 in the gallery that carries his name.
For example, one of the pieces usually available at his shop is this Chilkat belt buckle:
Edzerza has often worked with Chilkat designs, but, because they originate in weaving patterns, seeing a single element like this is startling. More often, a Chilkat design will have a number of elements, often repeated, with the result that you rarely linger over a single element. Isolated here, the design gives you the chance to study the face at length. In fact, it wasn’t until seeing this belt buckle that I realized that Chilkat designs (of which I know very little) are structurally closer to the formline designs of paintings and carvings than I had realized.
Edzerza also occasionally sells castings of other artists’ work, like this one taken from a pendant by Mark Prescott, whose prints have been available in the Edzerza Gallery:
The pendant is non-traditional, of course – if anything, the crouching figure of the shaman reminds me of some Old Norse drawings I have seen of Woden. This (presumably) accidental resemblance seems appropriate, since, like the Old Norse god, this shaman with a rattle in his right hand and a knife in his left combines elements of both the magician and the warrior.
Edzerza has also done a casting of an eagle pendant by Marcel Russ. I believe the original is in argillite:
Unfortunately, this picture suffers from the limitations of my digital camera. As a result, you will have to take my word that this casting manages to capture the strong sense of line for which Russ is famous. That is not an easy thing to do, and many casts I have seen of original works are muddied versions of the original. But here, Edzerza – who also shows a love of a good line, both in the occasional borrowing and his own original ones – has managed to give a strong suggestion of what the original must look like.
Works like these do not increase in value like exclusive works. But, at their best – as in these three pieces – such commercial works make a bit of beauty accessible to any budget.