Victor Reece was born in 1946 near Prince Rupert, in the family home on the banks of the Skeena River in Northwest British Columbia. He spent his childhood in Hartley Bay, his father’s tiny village on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. He was a member of the Wolf Clan through his maternal Grandmother, Edith McDougal, matriarchal Chief of the Wolf Clan and his hereditary name was Whe’X Hue, meaning Big Sky. His cousins are Heber and Henry Reece, also well known artists.
Victor was known as an artist, storyteller and educator. He was often been attracted to projects that combine his many levels of interest. He was employed by the Vancouver School Board as a storyteller and a native liaison educator, which is a position that bridges native traditions with urban school issues. He was also a storyteller for the Vancouver Children’s Festival and numerous other venues over the past decade. Victor’s work is sought-after by many collectors of Northwest Coast Native artwork because of the refinement in his pieces and his distinctive, advanced carving style draws. Victor’s journey as an artist started in his Grandmother’s home.
She would sit by the fire during the long winter nights and tell traditional myths that sometimes went on for several days. “Amoxin” listen she would say and we all sat quiet not wanting her to stop. She was an amazing spirit.
Victor studied carving at K’san School of Art in Hazleton British Columbia with a group of inspired artists in the mid seventies. While contemporary in his style, his discipline and inspiration still remain firmly rooted in his culture. Victor embraced the creative process of the ‘mask’, both its carving and its after-life. For Victor the creative process was not complete without the mask resonating life and its story. Thus, he fulfilled his vision as an artist and honoured the stories told to him by his Grandparents and so the Big Sky Collective Company was born. Sadly, the much respected Tsminshian artist passed away October 21, 2010.