Luke Marston has studied the work of his Stz’uminus (formerly known as Chemainus) elders to learn and understand the methods of interpreting Coast Salish oral histories and legends into visual art in ways that honor both the spoken word as well as the rich traditional art style of his people. Luke, born in 1976, grew up in a family of artists. His parents, Jane and David Marston, are experienced carvers who provided him with an early introduction to art and the skill of carving. His elder brother John is also a prolific carver whom Luke has worked with for years. He also credits time spent with respected elder Cowichan artist, Simon Charlie, as playing a significant role in his tutelage. In addition to the close mentoring by his parents, Simon Charlie and others, summers spent carving at the Provincial Museum in Victoria, British Columbia afforded Luke the opportunity to further this artistic and cultural education and better interpret his Cowichan culture through his art. Luke continued to seek out the guidance of other artists including Haida/Nisga’a artist Wayne Young, and each have developed their own style of carving. Luke hopes to utilize his artistic abilities to preserve his culture and share it with the public.
Years of work by Marston culminated in a major bronze sculpture—titled Shore to Shore—that was unveiled in 2015 in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The work celebrates the connections of Portuguese adventurer Joe Silvey and his first and second Coast Salish wives, Khaltinaht and Kwatleemaat. Marston is the great great grandson of Portuguese Joe and Kwatleemaat. Portuguese Joe and his wives return to Stanley Park in the form of three life-sized human figures facing outward, surrounded by the fins of a 14-foot traditional cod lure.