Musqueam artist ‘excited’ about collaborating with Canucks on new warm-up jersey

Musqueam and Tsimshian artist Chase Gray says it was really hard to keep his latest project a secret.

This project was a collaboration with the Vancouver Canucks on a new warm-up jersey that the team should wear on March 30 before their game against the St. Louis Blues.

“I’ve never really had anything this big and I’m just excited about it,” Gray said.

Gray, who designed the Canucks First Nations Night 2022 warm-up jersey, says the design was inspired by traditional Coast Salish art.

“I think having Salish art in our homeland, you know, being front and center on this big platform for a night, it’s really cool,” he said.

He also says the jersey uses three Musqueam colors: tumuth (red ochre), sunset yellow and black.

In a social media post, the Canucks say the jersey color, along with the “Every Child Matters” shoulder patch, are used to honor Indigenous children who were victims and survivors of residential schools, and recognize the path continuing towards truth and reconciliation.

Coast Salish style art

Gray says he started creating digital artwork nearly a year ago after buying an iPad.

He says he first learned the Northwest Coast formline art style from his uncle. The formline style is used by coastal indigenous groups and features ovoids – an egg-like shape – and “u” shapes.

He also taught himself how to create Coast Salish-style artwork, which features ovals, crescents and trigons.

He mainly does contemporary and pop art and uses bright colors in his pieces, he says.

Gray hopes his collaboration with the team on the jersey will have a positive impact on his artistic career and bring attention to Coast Salish culture.

He says he’ll be at the game next week with his family and friends when the players take to the ice in their warm-up jerseys.

The jersey is the latest in a series of collaborations with local artists. The team also wore shirts for Pride, Black History Month, Lunar New Year and Diwali.

CBC News contacted the Vancouver Canucks for comment, but did not hear back.

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