NW Coast Orca Rattle, Barry Herem prints and Jimmy Wright prints
and the Orca design I am going to someday use for my tattoo
I have a very small collection of NW Coast Indian items, most of
which I do not have photographed and on my site. This page
contains mainly my killer whale/orca items that I love, including
the orca design that I am getting for my tattoo someday.

My favorite of these items is my Orca rattle by Darell Leblanc.
CLICK HERE to go to a page I created with some of my favorite NW Coast Tlingit rattles.
I had a couple of Tlingit style rattles in my collection a while back but sold them.
I have several Barry Herem prints, he is probably my favorite NW Coast artist.
CLICK HERE to go to Barry Herem's website (in a new window)
"Skana is the Haida word for orca and represents a being of many dimensions. According to Northwest Coast myth,
orcas live beneath the sea in houses and villages, where they assume the shape of humans. They can also transform
themselves to pass as humans and walk on land among people, mingling in their lives. The shaman riding the dorsal fin of
Skana in this image refers to the orca's traditional role as a spiritual steed, a powerful helping spirit. The salmon in the belly of
Skana represents the main food of both the orca and the native people of the Northwest Coast."

The art card is represented above and I actually have a very large edition from 1983 that is a little different shown below.
I really love this piece!

The background is white, the lighting in the room made it look much darker when I took the photo.
This edition (below) done in 1983 is different than the art card (above) done in 1994.
You will notice that the Shaman riding on the back is different as well as the salmon inside is also different and the Skana's teeth
are red below and white above. I really enjoy the one below because the detail is a little more refined in my opinion.

I made an inquiry to Barry Herem as to why he changed the design from his original 1983 version and he was nice enough to
respond to me. He told me that he thought his newer version of the design (as seen above) was more refined than the older
version (seen below). He said he didn't remember much about his thoughts when he originally did the design back in 1983. I told
him that I was lucky to have come across one of his original versions of this design because I liked it quite a bit more than the
new version.

He also sent me the write up that he did with the new print and the text is below:
(if you need to see it larger, just click on it to see the full size version)
Whale and the Raven

Unfortunately, I only have the art card version of this one. There
was a version done in 1984 that was a little different. I am looking to
acquire the 1984 version of this print shown below along with the
story behind the print.
39. Whale and Raven, this serigraph references a famous Raven story in which the
trickster (one of Raven's names) dives through the blowhole of a whale causing its death.
The whale is then washed up on shore near a village where Raven, as a glutton, enjoys
an unlimited repast after misinforming local villagers that the meat is poisoned.

20 X 35, 1984.

To read the whole "Whale and Raven" myth....
This one below is the design I have picked for my tattoo. It is a design by Joe Wilson that I found a few years back and fell in love with the
design and I immediately knew it would be the design I would use for my tattoo. I'm going to use different colors but the design will remain the
same. I am going to get the tattoo done on the lower outside portion of my right leg. If you can't tell I love the NW Coast Killer Whale designs
and instead of picking something African for my tattoo I have chosen a NW Coast Indian design.

I fell in love with the NW Coast Killer whales before I fell in love with African Art and I have always had an admiration for marine creatures.

If you are interested in purchasing a print of the design, just go to
www.islandart.com and type "wilson" in the search box and all of his
designs will come up. Just browse through the list till you find it. There are also some other cool designs by him that I think would look great
as a tattoo. They may not sell the prints directly but it does have links to retailers. A retailer is Hills Native Designs
Below is probably what I am going to do for my tattoo. I don't want something colorful so
I think I will just add a few spots of blue and leave the rest black and white. I'll probably
rotate it so the dorsal fin is sticking up from the top.
I was browsing online and found a tattoo shop (Stark Raving Tattoo) that had a photo
of someone who had this design done on their arm and they used variations of the
original colors. I like it but I still think I'm going to get mine done with the black, grey and
blue I've chosen.

One of the important things about a tattoo is picking the right artist. A friend of mine
recommended Jim at
Red Sky Tattoo in Castle Rock Colorado and this is who I will probably
use. Below is one of his NW Coast Indian designs on his
portfolio page.
Other examples of some of the Orca/Skana/Skahna prints I have and enjoy.
Skahna by Clarence Mills
Skahna by Clarence Mills
Skahna by Clarence Mills
I also am a big fan of Jimmy Wright and his polar bears and I own a few prints.