Book Review:
Duane Pasco: Life as Art

  • Posted 8/27/2013
  • Essay 10469
By Duane Pasco and Barbara Winther
Foreword by Bill Holm
Hardback, 200 pages
Photographs, bibliography, index
University of Washington Press
ISBN 978-0-9882275-4-5

Washington artist Duane Pasco, known for his use of Northwest Native carving styles and techniques, shares his stories and inspirations in Duane Pasco: Life as Art, a fusion of autobiography and art book. Filled with more than 140 color photographs and illustrations of Pasco's life and art, it provides a unique view into the development and inspiration for his work.  

Duane Pasco: Life as Art is divided into two sections. The first, "Life," is a sort of autobiography in which Pasco describes his childhood and early artistic inspiration, his struggle to find work as an artist, his self-education in Native carving techniques, and his eventual success as a distinctly Northwest artist. His storytelling feels honest and authentic -- he admits mistakes and stumbles, but also relates fond memories and discoveries from his experiences as an ever-growing artist. 

The second section, "Art," resembles a beautiful coffeetable-style art book. It contains some 50 photographs and illustrations of Pasco's artwork, including carved masks, hats, rattles, totem poles, and canoes, among many others. With each photograph is Pasco's description of the work and the inspiration or story behind it. These descriptions are both enlightening and sometimes humorous, as in the case of one portrait mask modeled after Bill Holm, the well-respected artist, scholar, and professor of Northwest Coast Native art. Many of Pasco's entries also provide insight into myths and legends from Northwest Coast Native cultures, which often provide inspiration for his art. 

For art enthusiasts and those interested in Northwest Native culture, this book is certainly a worthwhile read. It is both a personal look at one artist's life and a beautiful collection of art in the Northwest Native style. As the title suggests, it perfectly illustrates the interconnections between the two. 

By Callan Carow, August 27, 2013 

Submitted: 8/27/2013

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