Winsor artist Luke Parnell has been hard at work on his most recent commission - a totem pole portraying his client's family history.

About this work, Parnell says, "When I am doing a commission, I like to get some sort of story or experience out of the client so I have a jumping off point for the artwork.  I don’t like to use traditional stories directly, but I will make reference to them — like in this artwork where I needed to represent a mother and her two sons.

The figures were chosen according to what the client wanted; specifically she wanted a family totem with a figure to represent each of her family members. I asked her to send me a short character sketch of each member.  They were her industrious husband who had his fingers in many projects, her daughter who was the most fashion minded of the group, her older son who was an outdoors person who loved the water and her youngest son who was the most serious and hardest working.

I chose the raven for the father, the eagle for the daughter, the seal for the oldest boy, the beaver for the youngest boy and the bear for the mother, in reference to the bear mother story. I chose to use Chilkat style for the feathers on the forehead of the eagle and the wings of the raven, because Chilkat is considered rare and valuable clothing and I wanted that related to the daughter's fashion sense."