Pin based on artist's lovebirds
Jenny Lyn Smith of Haines is the local artist who created the design on the Haines Chamber of Commerce’s “Think Haines First” pin.
The “lovebirds” design, representing the Eagle and Raven moieties, was a natural choice for the campaign, said Chamber president Ned Rozbicki.
“I thought it was a great piece because it speaks to cooperation within the community by representing both the raven and eagle. It communicated our purpose much better than just having an eagle,” Rozbicki said.
Smith is late getting credit for the work because the pin design came from an unsigned “cull” of one of Smith’s silkscreen prints.
Newspaper editor Tom Morphet said the print was pinned to a wall at the Chilkat Valley News office when Rozbicki visited the office looking for artwork.
“It was my bad,” Morphet said. “I should have known to check with Jenny because she made the lovebirds on the newspaper’s nameplate. But when I compared the designs, they were different,” he said, “and I knew other artists had made silkscreens of the lovebirds.”
Rozbicki’s only art for the pin was an angry-looking, cartoon eagle. “The response to it was universally negative. With the deadline rapidly approaching, we opted for a piece of local art with unknown origins,” Rozbicki said.
“We’re glad Jenny came forward and claimed it as hers, because we very much wanted to give credit to the rightful artist. We just weren’t sure whose it was,” he said.
While Northwest Coast art forms are in the public domain, individual designs are owned by artists who create them. Smith said she wasn’t okay with the Chamber using her design without permission.
“They better not end up on coffee cups or someone’s going to pay me money,” Smith said. She said she may have left the culled print at the CVN office in the early 1980s, as an example of what she could do. “Because (the colors) weren’t aligned, I wouldn’t put my name on it.”
Rozbicki said his group isn’t making money on the pins, which are helping pay for a shop-local campaign. He sent Smith a bagful of the pins. “It’s been a learning process for us. We’ve learned the smallest variations in design are signatures for various artists.”
Rozbicki said he may be looking to Smith for a Tlingit hand design next year, as he’s received positive feedback on children’s hands used in the campaign. “To incorporate Tlingit design into that would be an improvement.”
In the meantime, the pins have Smith thinking. “They’re really nice. They’re striking. Maybe this will kick me into pin-making. It’s been on my list of things to do.”