Book launch and Artist Talk – The Life and Art of Arthur Pitts, by Kerry Mason

Kerry Mason will join us to launch The Life and Art of Arthur Pitts (The Unheralded Artists of BC #10, Mother Tongue Publishing)
Thursday October 12, 7:00pm. Mahon Hall, Salt Spring Island.

Arthur Pitts (1889-1972) was born in London, UK, in the Edwardian age and pursued a career of art and adventure, first in South Africa, then Canada. From an early age, he was fascinated by indigenous cultures, which led him on a lifelong quest to document in vibrant watercolours, sketches and photographs, all he could see, as George Catlin, Paul Kane, Edward Curtis and Emily Carr had also done–in what Western society perceived to be “vanishing peoples.” Pitts also created entire series of landscapes, portraits and architectural subjects, commercial work and hundreds of cartoons for Punch magazine. Travelling more than 4,000 miles in British Columbia and Alaska, he produced a large body of work focusing on Coast Salish, Tlingit and Ktunaxa First Nations. Pitts’ fascinating story includes life as an artist in Vancouver in the 1920s and 1930s, where he attended the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, studying under Fred Varley, Charles Scott and J W G Macdonald; WWI trench warfare and a host of “struggle and prevail” adventures. His work is in the collections of the Royal BC Museum, the Glenbow Museum and several important private collections abroad. Few have heard about Pitts or seen his work.

Kerry Mason, B.A. M.A. is an art historian, author, curator and art consultant who lectures at the University of Victoria, University of Colorado, the Victoria College of Art and Vancouver Island School of Art, offering courses on Canada and British Columbia with an emphasis on Emily Carr and Indigenous Arts of the Northwest Coast. Kerry has written many related articles, exhibit catalogues and a book, Sunlight in the Shadows: the landscape of Emily Carr, for Oxford University Press. She has curated more than fifty exhibitions for the University of Victoria and other institutions throughout North America.