Chester Patrick was born in 1958 and raised in the village of Gitanmaax near Hazelton, B.C. Always interested in art, Chester was schooled at an early age as a principal dancer with Ksan Performing Arts and later attended the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art.
Under the guidance of Gitksan Elders and the tutelage of his instructors, Vernon Stephens, Ken Mowatt, Walter Harris, Earl Muldoe and Art Sterritt, Chester’s knowledge of his culture is reflected in his both design and context of his artistry.
During his time at Gitanmaax School he got the nickname “Chaz”- the letter “C” for his first initial and the “Haz” for the first three letters in “Hazelton.” Chester is more commonly known by his nickname Chaz, which he also uses to sign his completed works.
Since 1975, Chaz has worked as an artist. Although his pieces are created primarily in yellow cedar, which provides clean, well-defined cuts that highlight his design, he also paints original works in acrylic paints. Design and context are the fundamental elements found within all his pieces. His repertoire includes cedar flat relief, two-dimensional and three-dimensional design such as masks, bowls, spoons, miniature poles, frontlets, panels, and full-scale poles, while his original paintings illustrate design and oral traditions.
As an artist, Chaz’s gift is to communicate, celebrate and illuminate respect for his culture. Gitksan stories, legends, songs and dances inspire his artwork and he continues to be a student of his art; listening and learning from his culture both past and present. His work can be found in private collections, galleries and public institutions throughout North America and Europe.
2007 British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nations' Art