Jay Bell Redbird is an Ojibway First Nation self-taught artist. Growing up, he was influenced by and painted together with world-renowned artists such as Norval Morrisseau, his uncle Leland Bell and his father Duke Redbird. As a teenager, Norval Morrisseau taught Jay about colours and their meanings and how they relate to Aboriginal language, history and culture. Jay’s uncle Leland Bell showed him techniques and shared traditional teachings and stories, explaining the meanings of the animal spirits. His father Duke Redbird taught him how to express his pride as an Aboriginal artist. Following those forming years, he continued to paint, learning more and finding his own voice in stories and visions that he shared through his paintings. They are vibrant in colours, stories and meanings. Jay has collectors in Germany, Scotland, Czech Republic, England, USA and China. In Canada he has collectors in various universities, colleges, schools, daycares, in films and magazines. He also sold many paintings to Holywood actors as he worked in the film industry in Toronto for 8 years. Many actors encouraged him to rather pursue his painting carrier, as they saw Jay’s talent. He met Rolf Bouman in 2012 and has become a mentor for many of the Aboriginal artist of the Friends United initiative. He also has collaborated on some pantings with his partner Halina Stopyra and Rolf Bouman.
Rolf Bouman was always fascinated Jay Bell Redbird´s art work and purchased many art pieces from Jay. As Jay discovered that Rolf had always been photographing many wildlife subjects and also had published wildlife books, he suggested to Rolf an art collaboration. Jay wanted to put Rolf´s very detailed wildlife subjects on large canvas pieces and paint the spiritual part of each animal into the photo. Jay and Rolf discovered that this was a very interesting and unique way of conveying messages. Rolf and Jay have been working on approx. 40 pieces together, some of which can be viewed here. Many more pieces are displayed at the Friends United Conventional International Center.
Rolf Bouman was born in 1966 in Germany and completed in Germany two trades as a licensed farmer and a licensed auto mechanic. In the late 80’s he immigrated to Canada and started working as a labourer, welder, pulp cutter, tree planter and interpreter for Real Estates brokers, Immigration Canada and various law firms. In the subsequent years he founded the first of his companies called Canadian Pioneer Estates Ltd. and became self-employed as a Real Estate waterfront developer with a focus on the Canadian East Coast, especially Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island. In the following years Mr. Bouman also took over an additional consulting company and incorporated a publishing company called (Ad)venture Canada Publishing Inc. which is focusing on business ventures and Canadian art, history and culture. Rolf Bouman is the founder of the “Friends United” initiative. A passionate advocate and supporter of First Nation´s culture and art, Rolf funds all his friends united activities through his Canadian corporate group, without any government assistance and political involvement. . With over 30 years of international business experience, Rolf´s goal is to help First Nation artists become self-sufficient entrepreneurs who are embraced as cultural ambassadors for their communities and country.