From Whitehorse to Burnaby: An Artist’s Journey

Born in Whitehorse, Amber Ross is Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and a member of Crow Clan. She has lived in many places around the world from the Yukon to Alaska, and now to Burnaby, BC. One main thing has been a constant throughout life’s changes: her love of art. Amber is a printmaker who has a deep appreciation for bookmaking. Her work will be featured in the The Many Nations Mini-Galleries, an event that highlights the offerings of diverse artists during the Burnaby Festival of Learning. She will also be giving a presentation about her creative process to accompany the Many Nations Mini-Galleries display.

Amber has been an artist for as long as she can remember. Throughout her years in elementary and secondary school, she seized every opportunity to take art classes in order to hone her skills and further explore her interests. She credits her middle school teacher in Alaska as her main inspiration. This teacher was a profound mentor who helped her build her artistic foundation, empowered her on her path forward, and shaped her into the artist she is today.

Amber moved to the city during her second year studying at Emily Carr University and she has now settled in the Brentwood area. She particularly loves the beautiful views of the neighbourhood and enjoys sightseeing all the stunning landmarks the city has to offer. Since living in Burnaby, she has found considerable peace in her new home, even though it is so far away from the place of her birth.
As a fourth year student, she is preparing to graduate in the spring. Her years at Emily Carr have been instrumental to her growth as her education has offered her an opportunity to understand herself, examine the unique talents she brings to the table, and take the time to master her craft through a deliberate process.

The art that will be displayed in the Many Nations mini-gallery is her unique take on ravens, a familiar bird around the city of Burnaby. Amber’s work is inspired by a book titled Ravens by a Japanese photographer named Masahisa Fukase that adopts a rather melancholy view of the birds. In contrast, Amber challenges the traditional view of ravens by creating a piece that demonstrates their heartwarming and loving nature.

Throughout all of this, Amber has gained considerable insight into what it takes to be an artist. She believes that the process must begin with the drive to better oneself without doing it for anyone else. She finds that this approach nurtures the spirit and overcomes artistic blocks by helping promising artists be true to themselves. Creating art can become complicated by the desire to create a name for oneself while forming a sustainable career. However, this can become a double-edged sword if it means comparing oneself with others in a way that kills one’s original passion for creating art. Amber finds that circling back to creating what keeps one happy is the best approach to be truly successful in her field. Without a doubt, Amber’s work and genuine attitude towards art will enhance the cultural vibrancy of the city of Burnaby and beyond.

Fireweed Skull artwork Native Tongues

Burnaby Festival of Learning
Many Nations Mini-Galleries | May 7, 2021 9:30am – May 10, 2021 4:00pm
Many Nations Mini-Galleries Artists Talk | May 9, 2021 1:00pm
The 2021 festival has ended – thank you to everyone who was able to virtually attend.