Born 1958, Prince Rupert, BC
Don Yeomans is one of the most established and respected Northwest Coast artists in Canada. Born of a Haida father from Masset and a Métis mother from Slave Lake, Alberta, Yeomans has studied and worked in the Haida Style since his youth.
Yeomans first apprenticed under the expert guidance of his aunt Freda Diesing in the early 1970’s. In 1976, shortly after attending art school at Vancouver Community College, Yeomans worked under Robert Davidson on the Charles Edenshaw Memorial Longhouse, a monumental project that unfortunately burnt down several years later. Over decades of work he has mastered formline design, the basic visual language of Haida art. With this knowledge he is able to experiment with the art form using it as a tool to convey contemporary ideas. He is known for combining traditional formline and crests with non-Haida patterns and symbols. He often works with non-traditional materials like bronze and Forton (a gypsum resin). As Yeomans states: "Those who understand [formline] and can design, have a limitless potential" (From Raven Travelling)
Yeomans' art can be found in numerous private and public collections such as the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. In 2003 Don carved a 40 foot pole for Stanford University chronicling the story of the Stanford son. In 2008 he carved a 20 foot totem for the McMichael Gallery's permanent collection which interwove traditional iconography and totemic animals with different modern modes of communication including a cell phone, laptop and an MP3 player. He included these in the carvings as a reflection of how First Nations in the present day have incorporated technology into their way of life just as other cultures have.
Yeomans has hosted several solo shows, one in 1998 and one in 2007, both at the Douglas Reynolds Gallery. In 2005 a totem pole which he carved for British artist, Damien Hirst was included in the Raven Traveling show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2006 Don was commissioned to carve two 34 foot totem poles for the new wing of the Vancouver International Airport, which were raised in 2008. In 2012 he was part of the show "Modern Family", hosted by the Douglas Reynolds Gallery; it featured work from Trace Yeomans, his wife, and their children, Kyran and Crystal Yeomans.