“Godfrey’s life, his art, his friends, his deep understanding of First Nations people,
his sailboats, his enthusiasm, his wild energy, his sense of humour, his continuing
quest for adventure … It’s hard to describe this guy.”
—Lloyd Kahn, founding editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications and author of
Builders of the Pacific Coast
photo by Lloyd Khan
“Godfrey Stephens is the genuine article, a life-long artist on Canada’s West Coast. Uniquely at the
nexus of many cultural influences, he ignores galleries and drives his admirers wild.”
– Robert Amos, painter, columnist and writer of Artists in Their Studios, Inside Chinatown, The Art Lover, and Hometown
Godfrey Stephens is a West Coast original. Born in Duncan, British Columbia, in
1939, Godfrey has lived a life of bohemian freedom and off-the-grid adventure. His
inspiring body of work—including painting, sculpting and boat building—reflects
his many years of travelling the world, living on his boats and following the muse in
all her guises.
Grounded in the wild Pacific West Coast, Godfrey’s work reflects nautical, modern
and classical influences, along with the formative influence of his boyhood
relationship with Kwakwaka’wakw Master Carver Chief Mungo Martin.
Wood Storms, Wild Canvas is the first book to explore the life and work of this
exuberant and compelling artist. Author Gurdeep Stephens (who is also Godfrey’s
niece) makes no apology for selecting her own favourite works—over a hundred of
them—from Godfrey’s vast and varied oeuvre.
From towering sculptures likened to abstract totem poles, to psychedelic whirling
paintings, and sailing vessels crafted without blueprints or tape measures, the
breadth and scope of Godfrey’s artistic output is staggering.
With roots in the beatnik era, Godfrey still recites cool-cat poetry at the drop of a
hat. Gurdeep has included excerpts from her lifelong correspondence with her artist
uncle, further revealing his roving mind and unbounded creativity.