William “Bill” Helin
Tsimshian Norwegian Artist
Born 1960 Prince Rupert, B.C. Resided there until 1972 when he and his two syblings moved with their mother Carole to Nanaimo B.C. and he lived there until 1978 when Bill moved back to Prince Rupert to work as part time fisherman and sign painter.
In 1979 he was badly injured on his fish boat at the start of the herring season. During his year long recovery he attended the Ksan Native Art School in Hazelton B.C. where he was taught the fine art and designs of his Tsimshian Ancestors. After 6 months of training he returned to Prince Rupert to produce and sell his jewelry, prints and wood carvings.
In 1982 Bill moved back to Nanaimo where he reunited with his girlfriend from high school, Diane, and they were married in 1984 and moved out to Tofino B.C. where Bill carved jewelry at the Roy Vickers gallery.
1985 was an exciting year for Bill and Diane when they moved to Parksville and started their first Native art gallery and worked with the Helin Family, selling Bill’s and many other Native artists work from the French Creek marina.
Artist / Designer / Cultural Storyteller
Bill spent most of his art career, which started in 1979, carving traditional Tsimshian wood carvings, jewelry and painting. Other Projects Have been Working with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency designing 3 mission patches and educational materials.
His art has evolved from creating large wood projects such as 40 foot Ravensong canoe in 1993 and working on the world’s tallest Totem pole 1994, to illustrating children’s story books.
It took 4 1/2 months to complete the Worlds Tallest Totem Pole 192′
Bill worked with the Vancouver Board of Trade for 12 years, as a member and artist in residence; and with Aboriginal Tourism, as director for 3 years.
In 1984 he illustrated 6 Tsimshian story books from his Gitsees tribal narratives.
Since 2014 he has illustrated over 110 children’s Guided Reading books for Strong Nations in Nanaimo BC.
Bill is now working part-time doing Traditional cultural drumming and canoe education presentations at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center in Errington BC, writing and illustrating books and creating Story Jewelry and hustling all aspects of the creative world to survive this economic disruption.
“May you have a safe journey and trust only those with a good track record of Truth and Transparency. History tells the stories, with the cries of my Ancestors.
Blessings of good vibrations to you and thank you for visiting my site.” BH