Doug LaFortune was born in Bellingham, Washington. He was raised in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island B.C. Doug completed his schooling in Victoria then took a fine arts course at Camosun College in 1970. Uncertain of what he wanted to do, he took a logging course and a heavy, operator’s course and went logging until 1972. A visit to Simon Charlie at Koksilah kindled a desire to carve. Simon, already a world-renown artist took Doug on as an apprentice, and through this exposure, Doug developed his unique and successful style.
Doug has carved a wide variety of pieces such as totem poles (including a 30 foot long pole), masks, feast dishes, talking sticks, rattles and animal figures. His most well known carving stands in Duncan, B.C., which is known as the “City of Totems.” Doug carved five twelve-foot totems situated along the highway and in the township.
In addition to carving, Doug is well skilled in two-dimensional design. Intensive design sketching and painting have led to the release of several silkscreen prints. One of the most striking images is the “New Beginning” which depicts the classic Thunderbird and Killerwhale, which are used as an identifying hallmark for original Salish handcrafted work.
Doug’s other interests include hunting, fishing, and playing ball hockey. He is married to Kathleen and they have three children. Doug and his family are members of the Tsawout Band where they live in Saanichton, B.C.