Raven Drum, 1991 by Odin Lonning, Tlingit Deer hide, wood, pigment 8" tall x 2.5" deep
Odin Lonning (Tlingit name SH NOW TAAN) was born in Juneau, Alaska in 1953. He is Woosh Ke Taan (Eagle and Shark) clan through his Tlingit mother. He is named after his Norwegian father.
At age ten, Odin saw his first traditional dance performance. This motivated him to explore Tlingit art. Local native artists such as Amos Wallace, Johnny Avatok and Nathan Jackson, and the culture centers and museums in Ketchikan, Haines and Sitka inspired him to create artwork. When he was twenty, the Juneau school district, Juneau Centennial Committee, Goldbelt Corporation, and Sealaska Corporation commissioned several of his pieces for permanent display.
In 1989, Odin attended the Institute of American Indian Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico. While in Santa Fe, he collaborated with another artist to form Wolfsong Arts. They exhibited in larger powwows, juried invitationals, and museum shows throughout the West and Midwest.
Seeking a deeper understanding of the culture essential to his artwork, Odin started dancing and learning traditional songs. He first danced with the Juneau Tlingit Dancers in 1992 and later with Seattle-based Ku-Tee-Ya Dancers. He currently dances with Xudzidaa Kwaan dance group of Angoon, Alaska.
Odin now lives on Vashon Island near Seattle, where he works on multiple projects and private commissions. He does cultural presentations with his fiancee for nonprofit groups, museums, schools, gallaries, and treatment centers. He also works with Northwest Native Designs, a custom leather furniture company employing the talents of many native artists. Native Peoples magazine featured Odin's furniture design.
Odin's current works in both traditional and contemporary media include carved wooden boxes, bowls, wall panels, masks, paddles and totems; painted originals, drums and ceramics; etched glass and copper; applique and leather dance regalia; and graphic design for jewelry, fabric and leather furniture. He creates custom painted or carved designs for boats, cars, kayaks, planes, and even garage doors.