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Phillip Charette About

Phillip is an Oregon resident of Alaskan Native and French Canadian descent. One of today__™s leading contemporary Native artists, Phillip honors his culture through his contemporary expression of traditional Yup__™ik masks and culture. His medium consists of wood, clay (raku and horsehair fired), porcelain glass, bronze, copper, and various other materials, as well as monotype printmaking. Phillip's work has been shown at the Smithsonian, Eiteljorg, Bishop, Hallie Ford, Washington State History, and Heard Museums. In 2006, Phillip was honored with the Artists Choice award for one of his sculptures at the Santa Fe Indian Art Market, and in 2008 he received the Best of Division and First Place awards for one of his ___Medicine___ series mono type prints. He also designs and sells Native flutes and drums. Phillip has been featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting__™s ___Oregon Art Beat___ for both his art and music. Phillip was recently awarded a 2009 SWAIA Fellowship. This coveted Native American Fellowship through the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts went to only 5 applicants this year. Phillip's award will help him diversify into outdoor metal sculpture reminiscent of his existing work. In 2010 Phillip introduced his new copper and mixed metals jewelry line. Inspired by the play "Tas" (meaning "Threads" in Tlingit) that the artist is writing, these bracelets represent the threads of life that bind us together. Copper was used because it fits historically into the context of the "Tas" play and the metal used in Southeastern Alaska during that time period. Each bracelet is hand made and hand crafted by the artist. Copper ends are fully fused and all metal shaping is done by hand. Depending on the style, "Threads" bracelets are made with solid copper, copper layered on copper, copper on nickel, copper on sterling silver, sterling silver, or other combinations of metal. Quotes on other precious metal types and combinations may be requested. The ends of each bracelet are generally hammered flat and can also be made with an animal spirit carved and hammered into the ends. Traditional symbols are also hammered into the bracelets. To find more about the health benefits of copper go to: Harvard Magazine's May / June 2009 issue contains an article on Phillip and his work. The article can be seen in the print edition or online at If you are interested in any piece over $500 but do not want to purchase the piece for whatever reason (capital outlay, taxes, etc.) please inquire about our art rental and leasing program. This program is available for all art work over $500 in value. Please contact artist about the art rental and leasing program or visit 5 comments


Cama-I (Hello!), my name is Phillip J. Charette. My Alaskan Native Yup'ik Name is Aarnaquq, which means "the one who is dangerous". I am of Yup'ik and French Canadian descent. My father, Gilles Charette, was from Valleyfield, Canada. My mother Tasianna "Nurauq" Charette is Yup__™ik from Kwigillingok, Alaska. I am the grandson of John "Cunar" and Jane "Nausgauq" of the Kipnuk Area. (Grandma was born in Umguumiut and APA was born in a village no longer in existence near Kipnuk) My maternal great grandmother is "Panigacungaq" and my maternal great grandfather is "Assgulria". My paternal great grandmother is "Aarnaquq" and my paternal great grandfather is "Naulalria". My great, great grandfather is "Aarnaquq".

I hold degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Harvard University in Education, Native Studies, and Administration (A.P.S.P.). In spite of my academic training, I have always been involved in the arts and have had a life long desire to express myself through art. I feel fortunate that I am now able to do so. In 2001, I left administration altogether, took a deep breath, and began work as a full-time artist. I specialize in mixed media sculpture, Yup__™ik masks, Yup'ik drums, Yup'ik art, and large Native American flutes. Also being a self-taught Native flute player, my first solo CD, Arctic Voices, was produced at Sun Valley Recording Studio.

For the last four years I have worked with the Crows Shadow Institute in Eastern Oregon producing mono-types, and in 2008 I was honored to be invited to a show and workshop event at the Pataka Museum in New Zealand, where I participated in workshops, produced prints that crossed our Native and their indigenous cultures, and had my Analkuq prints shown.

Although I have won a number of awards at shows, two stand out as the most special. In 2006 I won the coveted ___Artists Choice___ award at the Santa Fe Indian Art Market for a standing mixed media sculpture titled ___Quiclligaq,___ meaning The Crane. That was only my third year of showing at this prestigious market, and to have recognition from fellow artists made it, then and now, very special. At the 2008 Santa Fe Indian Art Market, I was honored with two awards __" Best of Division and First Place - for one of the prints in my newest mono-print series titled ___Medicine.___ The print was titled ___Tuunaraaq,___ named for the mask image used in that print. Each print has an image of one of my favorite large mask sculptures. This award stands out as a favorite because it was the first time I had entered a print at the Santa Fe Indian Art Market, and I was competing against artists who had been producing graphic arts for many years longer than I.

My work on masks reflects old traditional Yup__™ik cosmology with my own contemporary interpretations and some added twists. Traditional Yup__™ik dance masks were made with wood and stained with clay. My first series of masks are mixed media, primarily made out of clay, and have a wood and organic look. Designs are based on older traditional masks and have many of the same elements as older traditional pieces.

As I've re-introduced traditional themes, my work addresses more contemporary themes and issues, while I continue to incorporate strong spiritual themes or aspects into my art. The style of my work is inspired by elements found in traditional ceremonial objects I've researched in museums. Contemporary materials are incorporated for impact, which help to convey ideas I wish to express. In spite of the fact that I use contemporary materials, carving - a Yup'ik tradition - is incorporated in my artistic process. My work reflects whom my namesake Aarnaquq is, acknowledges Aarnaquq, and allows me to follow in the footsteps of my namesake. It is an honor for me to carry on a new tradition of Yup'ik spiritual works. Utilizing contemporary ideas, materials, and stories, new traditions evolve and reach out to those listening and in need.

Quyana, ...Ellam Yua!


3415 Carter St.
Baker City
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