Wood Storms, Wild Canvas: The Art of Godfrey Stephens is my forth-coming book about to be released on October 28th, Godfrey’s 75th birthday. I’m working on a second book project right now (details to follow in the New Year) and am so busy but so thrilled to share the Wood Storms, Wild Canvas cover and the press release with you all today.
I feel a sense of accomplishment, having finished this book after being in full-time rehab from December 2013-May 2014. (That’s a story I am not quite ready to share just yet.) Wood Storms, Wild Canvas has been so fun, informative and challenging on many levels. Most artists are complex people. My Uncle Godfrey is even more so. He’s an artist’s artist who refuses to sell to Galleries, has been called “Victoria’s Marco Polo” and our “West Coast Picasso”. The artist and writer Robert Amos says about Godfrey, “Uniquely at the nexus of many cultural influences, he ignores galleries and drives his admirers wild”.
Square Diamond, 2000. Mixed media on canvas, 3.5 feet square. Photo by Aija Steele.
Wood Storms, Wild Canvas so far has been met with universal enthusiasm in the book community. Distributors are clamouring to carry it. Folks are emailing non-stop for a copy. Every bookstore approached has said a quick yes after a cursory look at the cover and flipping through a couple pages. Almost everyone involved in the book has volunteered their time, photos and words as a labour of love to this gifted, convoluted and loving human being. I am honoured to tie it all together.
Signing off to go work on my second book, but please read the Media release below to learn more.
Love to you all,
Godfrey looking at the Yellow Cedar Column, 1971. Yellow Cedar, 23 feet 6 inches tall. Photo by Lloyd Kahn.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2014 | Victoria BC
Lavish Art Book Celebrates Work of Iconic Victorian Artist Godfrey Stephens
Book Launch on Artist’s 75th Birthday
Godfrey Stephens, best known for Tofino’s Weeping Cedar Woman and for the two huge wooden abstract columns in Victoria’s Times Colonist building, is finally honored with the first complete documentation of a remarkable life and oeuvre. Wood Storms, Wild Canvas: The Art of Godfrey Stephens highlights the artist’s famed sculpture, painting and wooden boat building.
The book is long-awaited in artistic and boat building communities. Chief Tony Hunt said it should have been made in the 1970s. Historian Peter Grant says, “Godfrey Stephens stamps his personality on every beautiful thing that his fertile genius produces. When you encounter one of his paintings or monumental abstract wood carvings or one of his junk rigged boats, you know who made it at once. All his work is unique, one of a kind. This book documents that genius for, incredibly, the first time.” Lloyd Kahn, author of Builders of the Pacific Coast, writes, “Godfrey’s life, his art, his friends, his deep understanding of First Nations people, his sailboats, his enthusiasm, his wild energy, his sense of humour, his continuing quest for adventure… it’s hard to describe this guy.” According to the artist and writer Robert Amos, “Godfrey Stephens is the genuine article, a lifelong artist on Canada’s West Coast. Uniquely at the nexus of many cultural influences, he ignores galleries and drives his admirers wild.”
An alder wood deco faced nude sculpture recently stolen out of Godfrey’s studio made front page headlines in July 2014. This artist’s artist has been also called ‘Victoria’s Marco Polo’ and ‘legendary.’ As a teenager Godfrey was mentored by and even lived with Kwaigulth TenTimes Chief Mungo Martin. The sculpture of Godfrey Stephens has long been recognized for its unique, compelling West Coast voice, grounded both in classical and modern occidental traditions in addition to First Nations form lines. Artist Luis Merino says that Godfrey “is an integral part of BC contemporary art history.” For the first time, Godfrey’s portraiture and complex paintings are highlighted in a book. With 237 photographs, over 50 of which are full page size, including dozens of extremely rare photographs, Wood Storms, Wild Canvas captures the essence of this complicated and gifted artist who has been called our very own West Coast Picasso.
The author is Godfrey’s niece, Gurdeep Stephens, a singer and writer who was born and raised in Vancouver and is now a resident of Victoria. The first book signing will take place on November 1st at Munro’s Books on Government Street in Victoria at 1 pm. Printed in Canada on FSC Certified Paper, with a pledge to plant a tree for every copy sold, the book will be available at select local bookstores and online through Amazon from October 28th 2014. Read more at http://woodstormswildcanvas.com.