Godfrey Stephens, a Canadian (British Columbia) artist, has, in around 50 years, created an incredible and varied world of paintings, drawings, carvings, totems, and sculptures. He is what I call a Real Artist. He is VISUAL. He looks at everything that crosses his path intensly and he is constantly searching for beauty and grace in the world. He has spent years living on beaches in driftwood shelters. He has built a number of boats, most of them on the beach with salvaged wood. He has sailed a catamaran around Vancouver Island. He has sailed self-made sailboats to Mexico and been shipwrecked twice. He grew up in Victoria and when he was 12 years old he became best friends with Tony Hunt, who went on the become the present chief of the Ft. Rupert Kwagiulth (commonly known as Kwakiutl) tribe. Tony’s grandfather was Mungo Martin, a legendary Kwagiulth chief and legendary carver and Tony and Godfrey hung out with Mungo while be built the Big House and carved the totems in Victoria’s Thunderbird park, a beautiful and authentic display of the First Nations people of British Columbia. Godfrey was in carving heaven. Tony was being trained (he is now a world reknowned artist) and Godfrey started to carve himself. So that’s one part of Godfrey’s work, his carvings, and many of them are strongly influenced by native tradition.
Then there are his paintings, many of them kaleidoscopic interweavings of female forms.
He is a major artist, undiscovered as yet. I won’t go further into it here, because I’m going to do Godfrey’s story and show his art in my next book, Builders of the Northwest Coast, but I was inspired to see the three paintngs on his webiste: