With a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning, we become aware that the thunderbird is flying in our vicinity. To First Nations of the Northwest Coast, the thunderbird is a very large rare creature with a curled horn atop its head. It flaps its wings to create thunder and shoots lightning bolts from its eyes. We believe that the thunderbird is able to fly high into the mountains and swoop down to the ocean with immense speed and force to pick up whales with its talons.
The downhill skier, too, is a rare breed. They travel to the very top of the mountain before beginning their journey down the slopes. With a push off from the start, the skier begins to gain great speed. Carving turns through each gate, their speed increases. On rises, the skier will often catch air and fly like a lightning bolt. They descend on the edge of a razor, knowing that a slight mistake could be very costly.
I’ve chosen to include this print in the Spirits of Snow & Ice Collection which pays homage to the winter sports that take place in my hometown and all over much of British Columbia. The background image of the thunderbird is done in respect of my Coast Salish ancestry and represents a spindle whorl design. The spindle whorl, I feel, is the perfect metaphor for weaving together our worlds.
The prints in this series bring together the four worlds present in our First Nations belief structure: The sky world represented by the dawning of a new day. The land world to which all the athletes in these images belong. The sea world evoked through the frozen waves of snow & ice. The spirit world guiding the athletes and giving them the characteristics of our sacred animals.
"Thunderbird” is a limited edition print using the giclée method of printmaking. This print was released in January of 2010 and printed by Andy Everson at Copper Canoe, the artist’s own studio in Comox B.C. A total of 221 prints bear the title “Thunderbird” and are signed by Andy Everson: 200 in the primary edition bearing the numbers 1/200 through 200/200; 20 Artist’s Proofs; and 1 Printer’s Proof. Numbers 1 through 50 in the primary edition and all Artist’s Proofs are available exclusively in limited edition matched box sets containing all 10 prints of the Spirits of Snow & Ice Collection. The acid-free Moab Entrada 100% cotton rag paper measures 11x17 inches. Image size measures about 9.5x14.5 inches.