Improvising. Like The True Small Town Girl That I Am.

Hello !

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Here I am beside the Yukon River, with not my snowmobile- but the Doctor’s snowmobile. (I was on my own for the month of January, with a broken down skidoo- so he graciously lent me his Bravo so I could get to school and back in the cold temperatures- “my contribution to your education” he calls it. Very thankful for all the helping hands in Dawson City)

For school – we are to write about our experiences and art created at Yukon School of Visual Arts. Well, as some of you may know- My experiences at SOVA have not been of a quality that I am willing to post about on my blog. Challenges are good, yes, but this circumstance has become more of a burden than an enjoyment. More of a heavily medicated experience than an invigorating one. I don’t work in the studios unless I have too. I don’t spend time at that school unless I absolutely have too. Believe me when I say I try to enjoy every shred that I can while floating through the semester on anti-anxiety meds. Definitely not what I thought Art School was going to be like, but hey, what can I say- this is just a bump in the road, I will learn something from this (I have already learned many things while overcoming this) and I will keep on producing art. Preferably in a less medicated manner, as I do not like this whole icky, floaty, strange feeling. (But it was that or super depressed/panic mode – so I had to prioritize)

So like any small town kid would- I looked to my family, friends, and community (both Fort St. James and Dawson City) for help when times got lonely, confusing, and stressful.

Sure you could say that SOVA brought me to Dawson City- But the people who call Dawson home, that is what has really made this whole crazy first year of art school experience really worth it.

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The VICTORS – Snowshoe Baseball team that I was lucky enough to be apart of!

So thank you, everyone who has held out a hand and let me grasp it and really, well, pick your brains and gain such rich and inspiring knowledge that has influenced my art and myself not only as an artist, but also as a well-rounded, strong young woman on the journey to self-healing through the practice of making art.

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At the Traditional Feast- gifting a painting I created at a painting workshop at Myth and Medium to a very inspiring and talented Nunavut Artist- Mathew Nuqingaq

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I have worked very hard to be successful at art school. Knowing that I learn best in a one-on-one teaching environment – I took advantage of any opportunity that presented itself. Including when my father stopped by from driving down from Tuktoyatuk, where I got to spend a weekend with one of my favourite people, being tutored to help me with a difficult project, I spent that day learning about gears, motors, and general mechanic knowledge that became very helpful for me to create my kinetic sculpture.

Hopefully- I will get the marks saved for posts regarding SOVA put towards posts that showcase the fabulous people and resources that have been available to me in Dawson City, outside of school. My fighting argument is well- if a student is struggling in Math class, he/she is allowed, even encouraged to get a tutor. So when an Art student is struggling in Art school, and feeling that her expectations are not being met, what is so wrong about turning to her newfound community for assistance? Here are a few events, places, and people who have been such amazing resources for me during my school year.

  • Myth and Medium 2014
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community
  • Dawson CIty Community
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department
  • KIAC
  • Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre
  • Robert Service School
  • Mayor of Dawson City
  • The countless people I’ve interviewed for my short documentary
  • My family in British Columbia
  • My close family friends in Whitehorse, Yukon
  • Elder Victor Henry, as well as many other Elders of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in community
  • My inspirational roommate
  • My supportive friends
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department Library
  • Community Library
  • Dawson City Medical Clinic and their wonderful staff
  • Visiting artists as well as local artists
  • My Sweat Lodge family
  • My Yoga Community down in Vancouver
  • My pen pals
  • My neighbours on the Old Dome Road

So you see, I would not have moved to Dawson City if I knew that school was going to be such a brutal experience, but then, I would not have discovered that an organic approach to gaining a well-rounded education of not only the required “foundation year” curriculum, but also the land, community, and local artistic practices does not start in the classroom, it starts with the first hand you shake, the first time you acknowledge whose lands your lucky enough to live on, and the first time you get the wool pulled over your eyes by a cheeky elder. SOVA is a young school- I have hope that they will adapt and evolve to recognize and include such experiences and opportunities for future students, I know they will, change takes time. We all know that. This experience has given me a lot to think about and a lot to smile about, and it simply reminds me that yes, it does have to get pretty dark to be able to see the beauty of the stars that the universe has gifted you to see. And the stars I have found! Oh how thankful I am.

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I am also a Canine Companion and Dog Walker- this is Ziggy. Who helps me by providing smiles, howls, and laughter every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Thank you, Musi Cho, Namaste

KINNGAIT – Riding Light into the World –

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The Enchanted Owl by Kenojuak Ashevak

On my quest for finding and understanding First Nation and Inuit Art practices, I stumbled upon this magical documentary; Kinngait Riding Light into the World directed by Annette Mangaard. I have always been mesmerized by the unique and striking choices of subject, line, and use of colour found in Inuit art. In this short documentary, my love for carving, drawing, and especially printmaking was set on fire! I finished the documentary wanting more. Wanting to learn more. Wanting to experience more. I highly recommend this documentary I hope it leaves you just as inspired as I was after watching it! (for the second time 🙂 )

Take me to the Kinngait Studios!

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Set in the Canadian Arctic, this documentary introduces the many talented artists of the Kinngait Studios, and speaks about their role in the development and formation of Inuit Art.

To watch the trailer please click the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq6yq_SCyOI

Originally known as West Baffin Eskimo Co-op Ltd., it is now locally known as Kinngait Co-operative. It is located in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Here is a picture of Kenojuak Ashevak located below.

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To see some of the Kinngait Artist’s work click the link below.

http://www.dorsetfinearts.com

Featured in this film:

  • Kenojuak Ashevak
  • Arnaqu Ashevak
  • Shuvinai Ashoona
  • Jimmy Manning
  • Kavavaow Mannomee
  • Ohotaq Mikkigak
  • Tim Pitsiulak
  • Kananganak Pootoogook
  • Itee  Pootoogook
  • Annie Pootoogook
  • Terry Ryan
  • Pitaloosie Saila
  • Kakulu Saggiaktok
  • Ningeokuluk Teevee
  • Jutai Toonoo
  • Papiara Tukiki

Do you turn the shower on before you step in? Or after you step in?

Something to think about ladies and gentlemen,

personally, I like to turn the shower on before I step in because as long as I have been taking showers (probably since like… forever), I will always flinch like a cat thrown in a cold bath when the water spurts out at my face if I stand waiting in the shower for it.

Graceful creature I am, don’t you think?

Same thing applies when it comes to writing for me. Not flinching like a handicapped cat with a fear of water, but when it comes to being marked on something, something must be done the best it can be possibly done. Yes I’ve got perfectionist issues… And turning on the shower so it is at the RIGHT temperature when I step in is just the beginning.

Usually I just write, write without boundaries, without rules, or even a without a care if it will ever be read. My blog is a place for me to just mentally vomit my thoughts. Because honestly, I thought no one would be interested with what I would have to say but recently with my writing and english courses I have had the demand to sharpen up my techniques. I had to face it… A blog doesn’t get marked or evaluated, but my homework does. Uh-oh.

So I have started reading up, forcing my brain to act like a sponge, since honestly having a book in my hands is quite satisfying, and if it can make my writing better, hell why not. No offence internet, but my eyes seem to go cross eyed when I have to do any sort of research on the computer for more than 3 hours…

Curious about what this weird kid is reading?

I am reading “On Writing” by Stephen King

and

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

These books were recommended by my English teacher.

-if this was alcohol that we were talking about, I would be literally “Double Fisting like a mother fucker”, but since I do genuinely care about my brain cells I prefer to read two books at once instead.

Go ahead average high school party animals, smirk and laugh at me but I am pretty sure my priorities are straighter then your finances at the moment.

 

This is when the haters stop reading,

and when the people who are openminded keep reading.

My plan is to fully understand the concept of writing, and how to write great works and compose great poetry. I feel like I can do it, which is exciting, because I really hope that I don’t have false hope in hoping that my writing does have potential. I want to be able to know the rules so I can break them.

Oo I am so rebelious.

I wanted to mention some really inspiring people here: I am not looking for brownie points. I just want to acknowledge them.

Teachers, and Cowboys and Swedes.

My family is quite artistic, in a hidden way. Storytellers, writers, artists, poets, singers, crafty nuts, I am so thankful to have them all.

My small town has been blessed with many smart and talented english and art teachers as well, and I am so thankful I am not the kind of kid to skip class and miss out on the opportunity to learn from these people.

Some of the things that have made the biggest impact in my writing career, (oh how young it is, could qualify as a premature baby in an incubator)  is to have SUPPORT, INSPIRATION, and POSITIVE CRITICISM. There are many other things but these were the first things that popped into my head.

That’s what I have gotten from my family and teachers.

and LOVE.

Can’t forget love.

So, if you have any recommendations for resources, books, or recipes for gluten and dairy free mac’n’cheese please subscribe and comment.

xx

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to “Little Cathy”

For my mom’s birthday I decided to do a portrait of her from a black and white photograph from her childhood. I had plenty to choose from but one stood out to me. Her expression of childlike happiness and the shadows from the squinting of her eyes added a whole new depth to the photograph. It was almost like she was in the middle of playing outside in the midst of summer, not a cold stingy portrait in an air conditioned studio where her hair is brushed her clothes crisp with a nervous smile that happens when you glance at the photographer you barely know which is curtly telling you to “smile” .

My mom is an amazing example of a human being. She has a story behind her eyes that not many people see or know about. She has her strengths and  weaknesses like we all do, but her sheer force to carry on even in the midst of pain and unhappiness is inspiring to me. I wanted to capture that childlike happiness for her. That joyous moment of life when your old enough to experience the world but not yet know the dangers and sadness, that great amount of negativity our world harbors. I just wanted to give her something that really came from the heart. I do not have many talents so the ones that I do seem to have been luckily blessed with, I try to make the most of them. This was my first serious attempt at a pencil portrait of a real person. Sure  I’ve done sketches of people before, like in airports or from magazines. But I’ve never been able to really “catch” that certain person’s personality in my drawings. I once before did a portrait of a teacher’s child. I was in elementary school and from what I can remember it seemed like a pretty good representation of the little  girl. But this time I wanted it to scream “Cathy” [ my mother’s name].

Drawing is like breathing to me, a second nature you could say. So when I stumbled across that photograph it felt just right to pick up a pencil and start drawing. Living in a small town limits my resources drastically, so I used some poster paper ( the kind you get from the dollar store ) and taped it to a wall in my hallway under good lighting. If this was a perfect world, I’d have used a thick textured paper, something that would blend well etc. etc. etc. But for now, I’ll keep that as just a dream and stick to my dollar store specials. I took pictures during the creation of this portrait just so people could see the different stages of it. I tried really hard to capture the essence of my mother in this drawing, and it was satisfying to see the look on her face when she came home from visiting her parents to find it still in the hallway. It was almost like a gift for myself to see that my gift had touched her so fondly.

With my family’s encouragement I entered “Little Cathy” in the Burns Lake Alternate Arts Festival. The AAF (Alternate Arts Festival) is a oppurtunity for students from Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James to exhibit works of art as well as performances, films, and music. I always enjoy going to art shows, I feel somewhat at home at these places surrounded by people like myself. It is very inspiring to see so many people with such creativity and talent. In grade 8 I had won second prize for a Gesso acrylic painting of a dahlia in the junior category with a prize of $100. The past few years my art hasn’t placed as I had usually put “experiments” in the art show. (abstract, graphitti, and other unusual things) but this year I put two works in. A portrait of Lady Gaga, and the portrait of my mother. I wasn’t expecting to place this year, looking around at all the other senior work…I had plenty of competition. I would hate to be cocky, and say my work was the best because that is just not me. There was beautiful creations of work there. More than I remember from the past years. At the end of the festival the awards were given out. I had placed second in the seniors division, it was satisfying to stand up there and receive my prize ($100) it boosted my esteem that the judges had taken an interest in my portrait of my mother in the sea of mesmerizing artwork.

For a few months it was almost like I had put down my pencils for good. It was depressing, I had reached an artist’s version of a writer’s block. It was torture when nothing seemed to come out right. The idea in my head always looked different then what my hands created. I had lost confidence in my skills. So when I say that this birthday gift was a gift for me as well, it was this portrait that had finally ended my “creativity drought”.

Hallelujah