#365 Indigenous: John Velten

John Velten is a mixed Dene-European multi-disciplinary artist whose art-making is rooted in mentorship and community.

As a kid, John never saw himself becoming an artist. He dreamed of playing baseball, but started down the path of becoming an electrician in his late teens. Luckily, John found mentors and other creatives, such as who helped him see his full potential as an artist — and to see that he could make a living off his art.

Recently, John has helped RAVEN on a project called Home on Native Land. RAVEN had found a piece of art that used Coast Salish motifs to depict a map of Canada — sadly, the work itself was appropriated by a non-Indigenous artist. So, RAVEN invited John to do an interpretation of this.

Rather serendipitously, around this time John saw a post in a facebook group with a photo of a similar piece of art done many years ago by a Heiltsuk artist, Mervin Windsor. John has always practiced bringing new technology and skills to traditional ways of knowing and creating art. And so, John offered to work with Mervin to digitize his original map.

Restoring and Re-storying Indigenous identity and culture through art: that is what John Velten does in all his work. Check out some of his other projects at North West Styles or his newest creative endeavour, First Nations Gallery.

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