If you've browsed through some of our gift guides this past year, you may have seen some Eighth Generation products listed. Louie Gong is the founder of Eighth Generation, which merges traditional Coast Salish art with popular items in everyday life.
Louie Gong is Canadian artist, activist, and educator who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community. Instead of trying to get his art into old-fashioned galleries, he has pursued product development as a means of making his work sustainable while keeping it accessible. Louie wanted to help others artists that might be in a similar situation when it comes to getting their products out to the mass market, so he created the Inspired Natives Project.
What is the Inspired Natives Project?
From their website:
The Inspired Natives Project, launched by Louie Gong in May 2014, is both a business initiative and an educational initiative. By collaborating with select arts entrepreneurs to manufacture products under the Eighth Generation brand, we hope to expand regional appeal of the Eighth Generation brand while simultaneously increasing the capacity of the arts entrepreneurs and educating the public about the tangible costs of cultural appropriation.
The first artist to be a part of the Inspired Natives Project is Michelle Lowden (Acoma Pueblo) of Milo Creations. She specializes in hand-painted Pueblo jewelry, but is also branching out into other mediums. For the Inspired Natives Project she designed greeting cards, notebooks, pillows, blankets and the iconic wooden phone cases. All The below products are available for purchase on the Eighth Generation website.
Are You the Next Inspired Native?
Louie Gong is looking to diversify Eighth Generation product offerings by working with highly-motivated artists who represent a diversity of cultural regions. The ideal “Inspired Natives” collaborator is probably in the same circumstance he was in a few years ago.
1. A highly motivated self-starter with an established web presence?
2. Having trouble keeping up with the public demand for your handmade goods?
3. Interested in seeing your art on products but either don't have the time, capital or the know-how to make it happen?
Interested artists should contact Eighth Generation by sending a link to their website or Facebook page. Please email to [email protected]