“I create art with an open mind in the sense that I am always thinking of new ways to add a modern twist to a traditional piece. This allows for me to help to keep my culture alive. As we move into the future, so does the teachings of my ancestors.”
James R. Madison was born December 7, 1973. He is a member of the Tulalip Tribe, and lives in Tulalip, Washington. He began to learn to carve at the age of eight. James and his cousins grew up immersed in their art and culture, surrounding their grandparents’ table, learning how to carve from their grandfather. His father is an abstract painter, and influenced James early on to add another dimension to his art; to sculpt rather than to simply carve. His uncle was also an influence on young James; he was a teacher of Native American art. It didn’t take long for an intense interest in art to develop. James continued to create, and went on to study art at the University of Washington after graduating high school. He received his Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts in 2000.
His artwork contains traditional Salish elements and designs, featured in a variety of contemporary mediums, such as glass, bronze, and stainless steel. He is also a Master Wood Carver. Many of his large scale pieces can be found at the Tulalip Resort and Casino in Tulalip, including a 24 foot story pole. Madison is also an art consultant to the Tulalip Tribes.