Occupation: Painter, Graphic Artist, Web Designer, Marketing and Branding Advisor
By Marylee Stephenson
Special to The Post
Patrick Hunter is a young Ojibway artist who knows where he is going.
He grew up in a tiny village in the Red Lake District of northwestern Ontario, where the Aboriginal person he knew best was his mother.
She was an inspiration and role model to him from the beginning.
An active community organizer, she directed the local Native Friendship Centre, and she also was a model for high-fashion clothing that featured dramatic fur trims.
“From my mom I got my thirst for community development and an entrepreneurial spirit,” he explains.
The combination of his mother’s caring for the community and her artistic leanings led naturally to Patrick’s own development as a visual and graphic artist, web designer, marketing and branding advisor.
He realized early in his life – and he is only 26 now – that he had both a talent and a drive to succeed.
He had a “great mentor” in high school, and took all the art courses he could.
But after graduating his community development side took over and for nearly a year he was a mentor for young Aboriginal children in a school-based program called Turtle Concepts.
He helped build confidence and self-esteem in the teens, and taught them about things like workplace etiquette, “you know, like being on time to work, dressing right.” He then worked for another year with the local Aboriginal school board.
But art called again and Patrick knew that “if I didn’t go back to school now, I never would.” So he enrolled in college in Sault Ste. Marie, which though having population of only 80,000, was the biggest city he’d ever been in.
For two years he studied hard, developing his Fine Arts portfolio.
But he began to realize that his interests and skills were broader, that graphic design and other art and design forms were the way for him to go.
So off he went to Toronto.
Patrick has been in Toronto for four years, and is has a very busy budding career as a multi-faceted artist, with a growing reputation. He and another young, dynamic artist, Rihkee Strapp, of the Métis tradition, have a show in a very distinctive gallery/café, called D-Beatstro, in the heart of Toronto. Patrick’s paintings reflect the “Woodland” style of painting, first made famous by Norval Morrisseau.
There are the flowing lines, the dream-like quality, the synthesis of supernatural spirit and familiar humans and woodland or prairie creatures.
One of his recent paintings is called Buffalo of the Plains, which might seem to be a very simple description.
But there is a haunting quality, the ribs of the buffalo outlined in such a way as to be a reminder of the near – extinction of this marvelous creature that was the mainstay of life for prairie Aboriginal people for millennia.
Another painting is Woman and Grandmother Moon. A young woman reaches upward to the heavens, her hair in curling upward in almost flaming lines, while behind her is a protective figure, the grandmother in the shape of a moon.
As an entrepreneurial artist/designer, Patrick Hunter sells his art through Indian Art From the Edge, a Vancouver-based on-line gallery, but he also produced his own original pieces and creates limited editions prints, using his own social media links to reach his steadily growing audience. An impressive feat for a young person, inspired by his traditions and inspiring those ahead.
For more information go to www.indianartfromtheedge.com.