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Brian Jasper

Region: 
North Slave
Community: 
Yellowknife
Primary Art Type: 

Artist Story

while i mostly focus on painting and carving i would consider myself a mixed media artist at heart. my art is centered in breaking fixed perspectives. my style is usually taking one perspective, completing it from that viewpoint, and then changing the perspective and using that as the new fixed viewpoint. with three dimensional carvings, i usually sculpt one side completely and let that perspective influence the other parts of the piece. my canvases often turn into surreal portraits with multiple faces, which are usually representative of the diverse aspects of one person.

growing up in the North has influenced and inspired my practice greatly. i feel like it’s important to be creative here. it’s a form of self-care and a tool for growth. i live on Land that has been carved by nature. when I look at scenery, i know i am looking at a brushstroke that’s taken millions of years to create! i hold that as sacred. i find it fascinating how things chaotically and naturally come together, and i try to honour that in every way when i create.

i use art as a channel to explore many aspects of self and society. some of my inspiration comes to me through dreams, but most of my art is about what is going through me in that moment, whether it’s a feeling, a story, a teaching or anything that impacted me that day. my process involves a lot of self-reflection and self-discovery. it’s especially important for me to reflect on all the stereotypes and stigmas associated with gender and  mental health.

what I create will often depend on my environment and what i have to work with. most of my artwork tends to be geared towards symbolism so i tend to paint surreal or abstract pieces.

carving holds a dear place in my heart. my grandfather was a carpenter and he used to carve as a hobby. he passed away before i was born, but i feel like we have a connection and this is how we communicate with each other. in 2016, i took all the sticks I had collected during my childhood and began to carve them. memories became linked to these physical objects, bridging past, present and future. to this day, i still work with deadfall wood found in the bush. i specifically look for twisted, knotted branches and roots. when I come across a piece of wood that sparks my creativity, i will let things flow from there.

if I’m not making art, my mental health is usually suffering. i went 10 years in my 20s without writing or creating anything whatsoever, and they were probably the hardest years of my life. but at some point, i realized that i had been missing it. making art feels like the closest i can get to flying. art is my expressive language, it is how my brain works. and in the end, art opened and continues to open way more doors for me than it has closed.

Artist Bio: 

brian was born and raised in Yellowknife on Chief Drygeese Territory, a place he continues to call home. a self-taught artist, brian sculpts using local deadfall, 2014 burn line stumps & roots and salvaged windblown trees or dug up root systems. he currently paints on dark canvas with colourful acrylic paint. much of his canvas based work is centred on themes of self, gender, societal structures and stigmas. brian’s carved pieces are heavily influenced by where they are from (or whom), as well as a life time of northern memories and experiences. with gratitude to everyone who has expressed belief in his work, brian will be showcasing some of his art pieces at his first exhibit at NACC in may 2021.

Last Updated: May 10, 2021

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