I started carving when I was 27. It took lots of trials, lots of errors, and lots of broken carvings the first year. Once I started carving, I couldn’t stop. It felt normal, natural, good. Now that I’ve got the experience, I can look at the stone and just see what it looks like, what’s there already. I’ve learned to bring that out.
I carve because it makes me feel good about myself. It puts my feet on the ground. It keeps me in touch with my culture, my past. And it’s looking inside of me by looking at a piece. It’s almost like turning yourself inside out, saying, ‘This is how I feel about something in my life.’ And when it turns out everything is right, there’s nothing that could take that feeling away from you. Nobody can take it away because it’s in stone.
I’m inspired by legends and stories of our people. Sometimes reality inspires my work – something I’ve seen on TV or heard on the news or something that happened to a friend. One day, I’d like to take on the legends of my great grandfather, of him being a polar bear before he was a human, before he was a Chief here in the community.
My work is all over: galleries in Vancouver, Arctic Co-operative, the Inuit Art Foundation, and the Museum of Civilization. I never knew that some of the stuff I did, the stories, would affect other people as much as it affected myself as I was carving.