Kwakwaka’wakw artist Lou-Ann Neel has several potlatch names;K’idi-kle’logw from her mother’s Mamalillikulla side of the family, this was also the name of her grandfather’s great aunt.The name Îkya’w e ga is from her father’s Kwagiulth side, and Ga’astalas is from her Uncle Bob Neel’s mother-in-law, Lily Speck.
Lou-Ann has been creating original designs since the age of fourteen, when she was introduced to formal Kwakwaka'wakw design by Kwagiulth/Mowachat artist, George Hunt Jr. during a Native Art course at S.J.Willis Junior Secondary School in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Since then Lou-Ann has continued to study on her own, receiving further inspiration from her brother, Kevin Cranmer, and from the legendary work of her grandmother, Ellen Neel. She also has ongoing support and guidance from other Kwakwaka'wakw artists in Victoria, Fort Rupert and Alert Bay.
Lou-Ann has a broad oeuvre of work ranging from two-dimensional design, print and painting, to textiles, and also wood carving and jewelry engraving.She is experienced in arts management and administration, overseeing numerous exciting projects including the Kwakwaka’wakw Symphony of Dance and various short films such as Kwakwala Tales.Lou-Ann is currently enrolled in full-time art studies at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Lou-Ann’s designs reflect the traditional Kwakwaka’wakw form line. Her contemporary jewelry designs are created in the media of silver and copper, the materials that were traded historically. She is a strong advocate of preserving artistic cultural traditions and pays great emphasis on creating the highest level of quality in her work. As a new artist in her field, she is very much embracing the techniques and skills she has learned. She is well on her way to establishing herself as a contemporary female artist.