Bill Prokopiof grew up in Juneau, Alaska and studied jewelry at an Alaskan vocational high school before attending the Institute of American Indian Arts. He received his high school diploma from IAIA in 1964 and a post-graduate certificate in 1966. Soon after he went to study at San Francisco Art Institute (1966-1967) majoring in sculpture. Later, Prokopiof became best known for his sculptures created in stone alabaster and forged metal. Early student works such as Totem are inspired by his Aleut heritage and Alaskan landscapes. Made of pine wood the work is an abstract interpretation of his culture’s totem pole tradition. It has two different views: the front is characterized by wave-like forms, and the back is decorated with animal figures carved in the Northwest Coast formline design style. Prokopiof’s work has been exhibited throughout the West and Alaska.