Karla L. West was born and raised in Vancouver in 1969, to Edna West and Ivor Lauten. Her native heritage and ancestry originated from the Nimpkish River. She is a member of the North West coast ‘Namgis band, in Alert Bay, which is located in Kwakwaka’wakw territory.
Karla has always been interested and involved in art growing up. She started painting native designs when she was 18, motivated by her uncle, Albert West, and his incredible talent. Her love for her uncle and his artwork has been her inspiration to become an artist herself.
Karla has developed a unique modern style over the years, while maintaining tradition in her paintings, which is very important to her. She has a knack for capturing the spirit and beauty of her subjects such as; the majestic spirit of the killerwhale and eagle, the gracefulness and mischievousness of the raven, the ferocity of the bear and wolf, and the power of the thunderbird and sea serpent. Translating these qualities is becoming a trademark in her artwork, she hopes she can inspire others as she was inspired growing up.