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Willy Foulkes (November 27, 1964 – August 27, 2016) was a Tsimshian Northwest Coast artist who lived and worked in Auburn, WA USA.
Wilbert Victor Foulkes is Tsimshian, born on November 27, 1964 in Seattle, Washington. His mother, Patricia Gail Milton was a full-blood Tsimshian from Metlakatla, Alaska. Patricia’s mother was Victoria Alexcee of Port Simpson, British Columbia and her father was Victor Milton of Metlakatla, Alaska. Both of Willy’s grandparents were of chief’s lineages. Victoria Alexcee’s mother, Emily Smith was of the House Git Lu Sau, meaning “People of the Inside.” Victoria Alexcee’s father, William Alexcee, was of the House Git Wil Geots, meaning “People of the Kelp.” Victor’s parents were Arthur and Esther Milton of Metlakatla, Alaska. His father, Richard Banks Foulkes was a direct-line descendant of one of Seattle’s founding families, William Nathaniel Bell and Olive Virginia Bell. Bell Town and several streets in downtown Seattle were named for the daughters of the Bell family. Willy used the medium of ink-on-paper for over 20 years for his artwork. He used no pencils, erasers or rulers when creating his art. Willy studied the Tsimshian style of artwork on his own and was proud of the fact that he drew “free-hand” and created his designs as he was drawing them. Willy made his art out of the sheer joy in drawing designs and using his creativity. Some of his designs were influenced by the tribal stories of the North West Coastal Tribes. He was also creative in using his talent in accepting requests for special occasions, such as: birthdays, memorials, keepsakes and sports teams. Willy left the meaning of his designs up to the person who owned the design he created. As a result, that person could describe Willy’s art with the expression of what the picture represents from their own perspective. Willy was pleased to know the owners of his art were happy with what he created.