"Recognizing the beauty in things brings me great joy and inspiration, and it makes me curious about what it might inspire me to create. In interpreting the beauty around me, I find it satisfying to experience the beauty I am able to create within my own artwork. As an artist I am very aware of my surroundings and constantly looking for inspiration in my environment. I especially notice colour combinations that naturally occur in nature. Shapes, forms and designs in the world around me catch my interest. While I find urban centres to be full of stimulation, I also enjoy rural environments and the world of nature, as well as the contrast between them, such as the small flower growing up between the cracks in the sidewalk. My greatest inspiration however comes from examining culture and how it evolves. I believe deep-rooted traditions connect us to the past and to the legacy of our ancestors, and have an impact on us.
For me personally, my Inuvialuit background is an important part of my identity. It is my heritage and so has meaning for me, which I carry inside of myself. Yet we live in a modern world and the richness of one culture combines with new cultures, and both become changed. I find it interesting to look at those changes and to see how cultures are shaped by their environments. New materials, designs and techniques combine with the old and this is an important aspect of my approach to art. It is my roots in the Inuvialuit culture which form a departure point from which I can spread my wings to create unique new art forms which intertwine the meaningful traditions of my past with fresh new modern techniques of my present. Each thing which I create is shaped partly by my own personal and cultural values, and it is also filled with a life of its own. I enjoy creating pieces that combine the ancient with the modern in both technique and design. For instance, I use a variety of traditional northern materials, such as tanned caribou hide, baleen, moose hair, antler, porcupine quills and dentalium shells, as well as contemporary materials such as computer-cut delica beads, chain, silver, and crystal. Out of this synthesis, I create my own personal style and vision of beauty. I have been an artist all of my life, and first began creating jewelry when I started using a loom to make bracelets at age 12, which I later began to sell locally at age 15.
My first major accomplishment was by age 17 as I was surprised and honoured to accept the award for Best Emerging Artist at the largest festival here in the north, the Great Northern Arts Festival (GNAF) in Inuvik. It was also an opportunity to return to my mother’s native land where I could experience and explore more about my Inuvialuit culture and visit among other encouraging and inspiring artists. At age 18, I won Best Jewelry Artist at the festival and have been delighted to be accepted back for 6 years altogether. Each year I find myself more focused and inspired, and looking forward to finally furthering my jewelry training. I realize now that since I was 17, I have been searching for my artistic medium and means of expression. And in all the college courses I have taken, since I left high school, I was continuously drawn back to culture and to jewelry. Even when completing my textile arts design diploma, I used my learned techniques to create jewelry and items of adornment, and am looking forward to learning more techniques to add to my store of resources from which to draw in order to further my vision and my exploration of art."