William Callaghan

William Callaghan was born in Whitehorse, Yukon. William’s Tlingit First Nations ancestry comes from Teslin, Yukon – a Tlingit community in Southern Yukon and he is from the Dakhlaweidi clan (Orca whale/Eagle). William is also of Irish, Norwegian, and French-Canadian descent and hopes to some day learn artistic practices from those cultures too.

William started his first carving at the age of nineteen, it was with a bear mask he started with acclaimed Yukon artist, Eugene Alfred. It wasn’t until September 2005, when he joined the Sundog carving program that William became a full-time artist. From then on he hasn’t looked back, he spent 8 years working and learning at the carving program. Throughout his artistic career in carving and form-line designing, William has had the opportunity to be taught by ten different artists. Eight of those artists were from the carving program. He feels they have all influenced his art with valuable teachings to continue to grow and learn. William tries to emulate the Tlingit style of art, mixed with his own personal content to express through his work. “My biggest inspirations in this field of art were the artists from the time of no electricity. I admire the patience these artists had to complete their creations without the luxury of the tools we have today.”

Particular art projects William has worked on are a Sundog Carving Program’s 30-foot red cedar dugout canoe in the summer of ’09 with Master-Carver Wayne Price. He has been on 5 different totem pole projects, including two of his own, the biggest being the 36-foot totem led again by Wayne Price. In 2007, William presented one of his masks to the Former Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean. In 2006 he had three pieces selected to be on temporary (special?) display at the United Nations building in New York City. William has carved masks, bowls, panels, paddles, totems, bentwood boxes, rattles, head-dresses, all of various sizes and he says he will continue to make art until his eyes and hands permit him to do otherwise. Metal engraving for jewelry is William’s next goal of perfecting.

Located on Granville Island, Vancouver, Emily Carr University of Art + Design William is currently studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Fine art. He would like to some day have his hands intertwined with many different art mediums. Woodcarving will always be his grounding but he says constantly learning new ways to create is marvelous for progression. “Knowledge is like a candle with unlimited wax and an everlasting wick. When ignited, the light will always be on even when it is dark.”

Art has always been a gatekeeper to the history of humankind across the globe. It shares the responsibility with literature and stories passed from the elderly voices to the young voices. With that, art is an unending resource for captured identity.”

William Callaghan