Yellowknife looks a lot different from when I moved here as a teenager in 1968. I never went to school for art – only graduating from Sir John Franklin High School – but I have been selling my paintings since 1972, right out of the classroom. There wasn’t much recorded from that time so I painted it. Having created over 8,000 paintings, I realize painting is my way of giving back to my community.
Yellowknife doesn’t just look different; the way I look at it has changed. I grew up with very bad eyesight and a lot of people didn’t think I could be an artist because of it. There was a point in time when my work was dark and drab; a true reflection of how I was feeling about my eyesight. Thankfully, I had both of my corneas replaced and now I have perfect vision. This gift has enabled me to continue painting for myself, and my community.
I almost always work in large watercolours or acrylics. As my artwork develops and I develop as an artist, I believe using tools properly and trying different techniques becomes very important. It is not always about the talent but the whole picture of becoming a better person. Artists are such a vibrant part of the community – I hope I can leave some type of legacy with my paintings.