lessLIE Sam

lessLIE Sam

Born in 1973 in Duncan, B.C., lessLIE Sam is Coast Salish of Cowichan, Penelakut, Esquimalt, Irish, and Italian and French descent. His colonized Catholic Canadian name is Leslie Robert Sam. lessLIE has a Bachelor of Arts degree in First Nations Studies from Malaspina University-College. While working on this undergraduate degree, lessLIE began to study Coast Salish art in 1995. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Victoria. The thesis of this Master’s degree is a critique of the literature on Coast Salish art. As a component of this graduate degree, lessLIE has worked at Thunderbird Park Carving Studio.

When he first began to study Coast Salish art, lessLIE was inspired and encouraged by his cousin, Joe Wilson. He has also been influenced by other young Coast Salish artists such as Manual Salazar, Maynard Johnny Jr., and Shaun Peterson. His main influences as an artist are Susan Point and Robert Davidson.

Picasso once said that “art is a lie that tells the truth.” lessLIE is living this perspective in the spirit of trickster traditions.

“In my graduate work I have devoted a great deal of time and energy to the study of Coast Salish art. Through my studies I have come to truly appreciate this unique art form. It is an incredible gift our ancestors have given us. My artwork is intended to bring a greater appreciation of Coast Salish art to Coast Salish communities as well as to the general public. My goal as an artist is to provide a contemporary expression of this ancient and distinctive art form.”

Works by lessLIE can be found in the collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada, and the Westfalisches Museum fur Naturkunde (Landesmuseum und Planetarium) in Munster, Germany. The Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George, British Columbia, presented a solo exhibition of his work in 2009, and Alcheringa Gallery has presented three solo exhibitions of his work so far. In late 2009, lessLIE participated in the groundbreaking international exhibition Hailans to Ailans.