Vernon Etzerza was born on January 11, 1953, into the Wolf Clan of the Tahltan People. In 1982 Gene Brabant, as a teacher of the Northwest Coast formline design, encouraged him to study old pieces in all the styles of the Northwest Coast. From that Vern draws the inspiration for his own work. Vern's other influences include Russell Smith, Stan Hunt, Tony Hunt Jr. and Joe Peters Jr.
Vern Etzerza works primarily in Kwakwaka'waka and Tlingit styles and is particularly well-known for his Sun and Moon Masks.