Deviation Actions

axcho's avatar

Salmon Box

By axcho
A salmon. In a box.

A drawing in the formline style, developed by many native groups along the Northwest Coast of North America, such as the Tlingit and the Haida. This salmon design is more traditional than most of the other designs I've made, given the subject matter and the boxy shape. Yes, it's a salmon. It's just been rearranged a bit.

This design was very difficult for me, and I am not particularly happy with how it turned out. I eventually arrived at this design in the form of a small pencil sketch, and I think that in copying it over to a larger format, a lot of the strength and flow of the original composition was lost. You can see the original sketch here, with labels for all the body parts in the design: [link]

Pen and marker.

This is an example of a distributed formline design, where the parts of the animal are rearranged to fill a geometric shape, ignoring anatomical relationships.

If you like this artwork, and you want to learn more about the cultural context in which the style was developed, please see the excellent book A Story as Sharp as Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World by Robert Bringhurst. I've written a review of it, which you can read here: [link]


Naturalistic: Leaping Velociraptor
Configurative: Baby Turtle
Expansive: Future of Frog
Distributed: Salmon Box
Image details
Image size
1024x768px 169.69 KB
© 2009 - 2021 axcho
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
axcho's avatar
Thank you. I feel better knowing that someone can enjoy this piece so much, especially someone who has such an appreciation of the art style as you seem to.

I would like to try carving this someday. I do think it would be very cool as a carved piece rather than flat as it is now.
Brilliant work. I like the final version better than the sketch - it is so elegant, smooth, flowing, and balanced. Very very difficult to achieve.

~Keen sense, common sense, and still room for nonsense!