Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Shaun Peterson (Tulalip/Puyallup) is compiling materials for an educational DVD project about Salish art with special emphasis on historical and contemporary art of the Puget Sound region. Shaun will use the DVD to supplement design workshops that he conducts with tribal communities and the public.

Shaun was born in Puyallup, WA in 1975 and is a member of the Puyallup Tribe. Shaun’s work is culturally based in the ancient tradition of the Salish speaking tribal groups that cover a majority of western Washington and parts of Southern British Columbia. 

In Shaun’s introduction to the Northwest Coast Native art discipline he worked with a select group of artists skilled in their field of expertise including Haida artist Bruce Cook III, Steve Brown, Greg Colfax (Makah), and Loren White. In working with these individuals Shaun was able to learn a great deal about the variety of styles that define the different cultural groups through the art itself. In his quest to understand the defining artistic features of his own cultural group, he found that there was but minimal documentation readily available to be found. So it was that Shaun began rigorous study in museum collections to learn about the art that was in many ways forgotten among his own people. At first drawing from historic pieces for inspiration, Shaun eventually learned to utilize the properties that defined the Salish style and generated new creations based upon that collection of experience and exploration. His early work was primarily functional and related directly to ceremony in the form of painted drums, rattles, and masks. 

At present, Shaun has begun to integrate more “non-traditional” media into his art such as glass and metal while maintaining the defining features that make the art culturally identifiable. Shaun has done public works for the cities of Tacoma and Seattle as well as site specific work for tribal buildings in his community. Shaun’s work is both traditional and contemporary, drawing on the artistic discipline of the past and utilizing modern materials from the world today. His work is carried by many galleries in the Northwest region that specialize in Northwest Coast Native art in the form of limited edition prints, masks, rattles, hand carved cedar panels, etched glass, and metalwork.

He is the recipient of The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation's 2013 Foundation of Art Award.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.