Art Thompson was born in 1948, at the village of Whyac on the southern end o f Nitinaht Lake, British Columbia. He has made a distinguished contribution to revitalizing the once thought extinct arts of his Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, which hybridized the antique Wakashan style with the northern graphic style.
In 1967, he enrolled in the commercial art program at Camosun College, Victoria, B.C. specializing in two-dimensional mediums. Yet more important was his 1970 meeting with the fellow Nuu-chah-nulth artists Joe David and Ron Hamilton, the latter possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of West Coast traditional art. Thompson has since carried out his own scholarly research and examination of museum objects, and is particularly noted for excelling in bold, saturated serigraphs.
In addition to his activities as a carver, printmaker and silversmith, Thompson has increasingly contributed to his community as a tribal band leader, singer and ceremonial dancer. Art was first known for his innovative work in serigraphy, bringing new colors and original subject matter to the medium. In recent years, his most exciting work has been in combining mediums such as wood and silver in the complex sculptural forms of frontlets, masks and crest hats. Commissions include work for the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the British Columbia Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.