Karla West was born in 1969 to Edna West and Ivor Lauten. She was raised in Vancouver, but her ancestry originated from the Nimpkish river. She is a member of the Namgis Band, which is located in Kwakwaka’wakw territory.
Karla was drawn to art in her childhood. She was inspired by her Uncle, Albert West, who was a talented artist, and at the age of 18 began painting native designs.
Karla has developed a unique and modern style over the years, yet maintains traditional design in her paintings, which is very important to her. She has the ability to capture the spirit and beauty of her subjects; the majestic spirit of the Killer Whale and Eagle, the gracefulness and mischievousness of the Raven, the ferocity of the Bear and Wolf, and the power of the Thunderbird. Translating these qualities is becoming a trademark in her artwork, she hopes she can inspire others as she was inspired growing up.