Posted by Open Studio

Tim Pitsiulak Brings Talent South to OS

Tim Pitsiulak at work in Open Studio.

Written by Chris Jones

Inuit artist Tim Pitsiulak, above, has been working at Open Studio for the past week-and-a-half with master screen printer Nick Shick and assistant Miles Ingrassia, below, as part of a special artist residency arranged by Dorset Fine Arts in conjunction with Open Studio.

All three artists will deliver what promises to be a fascinating talk at Open Studio on Thursday (April 21) from 6-8 pm. As Shick explains, “This project is unique for me because in most of the work I do, alone or with other artists, there’s a digital component and in this project there is absolutely none, it’s completely analogue.”

Nick and Miles
Miles Ingrassia, left, and Nick Shick examine a screen for flaws

“We could have scanned Tim’s work into the computer but we didn’t want to, it wasn’t necessary,” continues Shick. “In some cases Tim has had to darken up some lines here and there to make the work more sharp but we’re doing it all by hand and it’s going to show in the finished work. I feel really excited about that.”

Pitsiulak is not a printmaker; his iconic images of the North, of the animals and machinery that share life in the Arctic, are executed one-at-a-time with pencil, charcoal, crayons or pastels. Translating those organic marks onto silk screens has been a challenge for all concerned.

“You can see the marks, the shading of the crayon and it will all add up to artwork that speaks authentically to the way that Tim produces his drawings,” assures Shick.

Until 1997 Dorset Fine Arts and Open Studio collaborated regularly; Pitsiulak’s residency revives a program that both organizations hope to make an annual event. The goal is to ensure that artists from Kinngait Studios in Cape Dorset (Pitsiulak’s home base) benefit from vital professional development at Open Studio. The initiative is supported by the Government of Nunavut through its Community Tourism and Cultural Industries program (link).

Tim Pitsiulak
Tim Pitsiulak has painstakingly rendered each colour layer by hand, sometimes with changes to the original sketch.

A modest man of few words, Pitsiulak says he’s grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from expert technicians like Shick and Ingrassia.

“This is a big plus for me,” he says. “I like working with new people, with new mediums and new styles and techniques.”

Dorset Fine Arts Marketing Manager William Huffman says Pitsiulak “is one of the most important Inuit artists working today. We certainly wanted to celebrate that – we also wanted to inaugurate this annual initiative with an artist who had familiarity with creative residencies. These engagements are demanding, and in addition to artistic results, there’s a lot to take in from a learning point of view. We think that Tim is not only a perfect candidate to benefit from the opportunity, but when he returns to Cape Dorset, he will also be an excellent mentor who can help prepare our next round of participants.”

Shick confirms that Pitsiulak has a fierce work ethic. He drew original sketches in Toronto for the residency and has painstakingly re-drawn each of the different colour layers.

clowningaround
Tim and Nick find time to clown around in the studio

“Tim is great to work with, he’s totally unpretentious but also professional,” says Shick, “He works hard but always has time for a smile. I learn a lot just from watching him work and talking him through the process.”

Visitors to the artists’ talk on Thursday are sure to learn plenty, as well. The talk is free.

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Categorised in: Artist Stories, Events, Inside Open Studio