FAQ - Louie Gong

Where are you from?

I was born in Ruskin, B.C., where I lived with my Chinese Grandpa and Native Grandma in a house with no running water. When I was 11, we moved to the Nooksack tribal community near Everson, Washington. I stayed there until I finished graduate school at the age of 22.  

I'm Chinese, Native, French and Scottish. My family has Squamish and Nooksack heritage, and I'm an enrolled citizen of the Nooksack nation.

What is your educational background?

A first-generation college student, I have a Master’s Degree in Education from Western Washington University’s School Counseling Program. Over my 20 years in education, I’ve worked as a Native American Education Specialist, School Counselor, Child and Family Therapist, and Higher Education Administrator.

Since the age of 18, I’ve been a non-profit volunteer – primarily at the board level – for numerous organizations. I’m the past President of the MAVIN Foundation, a non-profit that addresses the experiences of mixed race children and families, and my commentary related to racial and cultural identity has been included in MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, The New York Times and been the subject of two documentary films.

Are you a full-time artist?

Yes. In 2013, I quit my seven year position as an administrator at Muckleshoot Tribal College to pursue art and entrepreneurship full time.

How long have you been doing art?

I started practicing art seriously in 2007 when the Muckleshoot Tribe hosted the Intertribal Canoe Journey, and I had the opportunity to help the Muckleshoot Language Program paint drums for giveaway items. After that, I started seeing the world in ovals, crescents and form lines. I created my first custom shoe in March of 2009.

Did you study art?

I had one art class. It was in 8th grade, and I think I got a C.