Thomas Stream

Tribe: Aleut (Sun'aq)
Based In: Seattle, WA

About the Artist
Aleut artist Thomas Stream was born in Kodiak, AK in 1941. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish School of Allied Arts in 1976. Thomas Stream’s paintings pay homage to his Aleut ancestors and their traditions. Stream’s vivacious animals wear traditional Aleutian hunting hats. These represent nobility and status within Aleut society. In Stream’s iconography these visors celebrate the individual spirit of each animal, while connecting them to the Aleut people, who share the same environment. The hats were worn for practical purposes, to protect from sun and rain, but also worn for ceremonial purposes. Stream’s paintings make use of geometric designs and pointillist dots. At first glance, these dots and lines simply add depth to a jay’s wing or an orca’s tail. However, these spiraling forms are cultural techniques to visualize time and space - the addition of which lend a longevity and immortality to their subjects.

“The images illustrate humility and honor to a unique group of people. I utilize the creatures of the sky, sea, and earth to depict the wonderful wittiness, strength, playfulness, sensitivity, power and sorrow of the Aleuts and their environment.”

—Thomas Stream

(via Stonington Gallery)