Gerry Marks grew up in Vancouver, largely unaware of Haida artistic traditions. After meeting Bill Reid and discovering, at age twenty, the fine metalwork of his grandfather John Marks, he began to focus his energy on understanding this tradition.
In 1971 Marks began a formal study of Northwest Coast design with Freda Diesing in Prince Rupert. He later spent time at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art in Hazelton. Through self-study and contact with other artists, Pat Dixon, Francis Williams, Robert Davidson and Bill Holm, Marks developed his metalworking skills, paying particular attention to the technique of repoussé. In 1977, Marks carved a twenty-five-foot totem pole with Francis Williams and spent four months in Masset, his mother’s village, working with Robert Davidson on the Charles Edenshaw memorial housefront that had been commissioned by the National Historic Sites of Canada.
In 1977 he worked with Peter Page at the Treasures of London Master Craftsmen workshop. This experience renewed Marks’ understanding of the importance of wood carving to his own artistic development. Marks is one of the finest jewellery artists on the Northwest Coast. His distinct design, flowing formline and powerful carving, are his hallmarks. He has pieces in the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, the Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec and the Osaka Museum.