Inuit Art Blog
The painstaking process I had to go through to acquire these exquisite Lucassie muskoxen, was like dental surgery without anaesthetic!
It is no secret that it is very difficult to acquire the iconic pieces of Canada's great Master carvers. These carvers include Lucassie Ikkidluak, Pitseolak Qimirpik, Nuna Parr, and Ashevak Tunnellie. These experienced artists often carve a limited number of sculptures. And many of the other galleries are more than eager to acquire these gems. But, I persevered and fought tooth and nail and was finally rewarded with these unbelievably gorgeous creatures.
Is it possible that each new Lucassie muskox is more impressive than the previous?
Honestly, I have never had one of Lucassie's Muskoxen for longer than two months. Collectors are hungry for these "hot commodity" pieces. With each year, his pieces become more rare and more collectible.
Lucassie is one of Canada's premier Inuit artists and his Muskoxen are one of those rare pieces that every collector wants in their collection.
Click here to see the available Lucassie muskoxen.
Thirty three percent of people collect one thing or another.
Collecting art is a common human interest,
Why do we do it? Why does it make us feel so good?
Why do we feel a compulsion to always be searching for the next great find?
The answer is that the physiology of our brain engineers our "need" to collect.
Sometimes, don't you jokingly call your art collection your "addiction"? You are actually very close to the truth.
Physician Dr. Shirley Mueller has dedicated her career to understanding why humans collect things. She explains the phenomenon in her 2019 article, "Why We Collect" and her 2020 book "Inside the Head of a Collector: Neuropsychological Forces at Play".
So. Why do we collect art?
Simple. It makes us happy. And humans are driven by the desire to experience pleasure.
"Collecting isn't a job, it isn't a hobby. It's better. It's a passion. When we collect, we seek pleasure in a very specific manner".
The pride we feel when we acquire a special object (like that very first Inuit carving), is a "psychological reinforcer". The reinforcer feeds our brains' pleasure centre. When our pleasure centre is stimulated we feel great!
Our pleasure centre then sparks our desire to collect another Inuit carving (our object of desire).
When you gather a group of like items together for the first time ( ie 2 or 3 dancing bears) the group actually heightens your sense of pride which then more strongly stimulates your pleasure centre. Your excitement for your collection escalates.
So you see, there are many psychological reinforcers (pride, a sense of belonging to an group) that creates a sense of pleasure (via your brain) that pushes you to collect more and more carvings!
AND when you search for that perfect rare Nuna dancing bear, the one that sets you apart from your peers by bringing you recognition and admiration from other collectors?
YES! Your pleasure centre becomes super stimulated by all the complex dimensions of your collecting activities. All the multilayered psychological reinforcers bombard your pleasure centre.
This is why you feel that compulsion to find the next best carving! Your brain wants you to collect, to feel that pleasure again and again and again.
Next month....The Art Collector Part 2
This month our spotlight shines on Pits Qimirpik (Kimmirut, NU). Every comprehensive Inuit carving collection must include at least one of Pits' venerable bird sculptures.
Pits' Owls and Eagles are internationally renowned. The reasons are many. The colours of the stone he chooses are extraordinary. He has a particular moss green pastel stone that has lavender veins coursing through it! I have never seen any other artist use this colour of stone. His jewel tone stones are vibrant and magnetic. His darker browns and greens are rich and soothing.
Qimirpik Owls are unlike any other. His Owls are stoic and fearless. The wings are folded and are immaculate in their detail. The feathers are individually etched with geometric precision. Each owl stands at the ready, like avian soldiers; ready to hunt....ready to kill. I have seen many of these spectacular birds over the years and yet each one is unique and captures my heart.
As magnificent as his owls are, Pits' Eagles are perfection!
These birds of prey are carved in midflight, wings wide spread. They are usually carrying a small fish in their talons. The realism of the sculpture is spell binding. But what is really impressive, is the talent and skill that is required by the artist to be able to create a piece of art that must balance like this eagle. I venture to say that many carvers will never develop this skill. But Pits has attained this mastery.
He has achieved the status of a Master Carver. Every sculpture he creates is noteworthy but his Owls and Eagles are treasures.
We guarantee METICULOUS RESTORATION of damaged carvings.
NO VISIBLE repair lines.
Your INVESTMENT will look BRAND NEW....as if it never happened!
Our master art conservator and restorer is.... a professional restorer and impeccable carver.
His work is acclaimed around the world.
Rest assured....99% of damaged carvings can be restored to their Original condition.
Many of our clients have pieces they Love, and then experience that unfortunate mishap where the carving falls off a table and breaks. Life happens, we understand that, and this is why I am writing this article. We are here to rectify your situation and make your carving look as good as new again.
It has taken nearly 2 years of the highest quality custom renovations, but our new physical brick and mortar Gallery is finally complete.
I took my inspiration for the Gallery from my favourite movie - "Vertigo" directed by Alfred Hitchcock. In the movie, Scottie's (Cary Grant) friend Midge owns a trendy and beautiful studio nook located in the heart of the Bohemian district of San Francisco.
Like that nook, I wanted the Gallery to be warm and inviting but have that level of sophistication that these Masterpieces deserve.
It was important for me to create a Gallery where clients can see the most beautiful Inuit sculptures in Canada but also relax, share a drink and socialize.
I hope that this gallery will be the first of many more.
I am a fanatic when it comes to beauty and good design which is why I am also passionate about beautiful and innovative Inuit sculptures.
I love people, and culture and engaging in discussion which is why Inuitsculptures.com is the most successful Inuit art gallery in the world.
I invite all of you, my past clients, my new clients, my old friends and my future friends to drop by the Gallery in beautiful Hudson, Quebec (487A Main Street).
Have an expresso with me or a glass of wine.
Get comfortable. My Eames chairs are here waiting for you.
"We promise to send you only good things".
CEO | Curator
Game Changing Artist Pits Qimirpik (1986) born Iqaluit, NU
The year is 2010.
Twenty four year old Pits Qimirpik is about to make his permanent mark on Inuit art. His new carving will transform Inuit carving forever.
Recognizing the cultural significance of Qimirpik's sculpture, the TD Bank immediately acquires the carving for their Indigenous Art Collection.
Can you identify this Pits carving?
At such a young age, Qimirpik had the foresight and the wisdom to recognize that it was time...time for the world to see the real True North through an artist's eyes.
Inuit art wasn't only dancing bears, shamans and seals on ice floes.
Qimirpik felt strongly that Inuit art should depict "modern" Inuit youth. These Inuit kids play basketball and listen to rap music and wear hoodies with logos.
So Pits gave the art world his carving of a young Inuk man happily listening to his music on his MP3 player, complete with headphones.
TD Bank realized that Pits belonged to a new generation of carvers, These artists would mark the beginning of a new vanguard of artists. Artists who would connect the people of the Canadian Far North to the outside world.
In reality, the "modern" world has been insinuating itself into the Far North for decades. Skidoos replaced the less efficient dog sleds in the 1960s. Very few Inuit today ever lived in an igloo.
But Pits is credited with carving the first sculpture that shows the modern influence of the South on the Inuit in the form of electronic technology. Since then, he has carved more Inuks with MP3 players and Inuit youth playing basketball.
Pits is not just a "game changer". Qimirpik sculptures are consistently happy go lucky and effervescent. They often have a cartoonish visage like this quirky dancing squirrel or the black fox with the yellow paws.
These pieces remind me that life shouldn't always be taken so seriously but I also appreciate Pits' art because it often catches me off guard and gives me pause to re evaluate my expectations of a piece.
Who would have thought that two large and ungainly walruses could be agile and graceful as they dance together?
Pits Qimirpik, that's who!
Ashevak Adla (b 1977) Cape Dorset (or Kinngait "the place of hills")
Cape Dorset has become synonymous with excellence in Canadian art, especially for its graphics and sculptures.
Adla, like many sculptors, was born into an artistic family. His grandfather Audla Pee and his cousin Tim Pee are highly respected bear carvers. BUT teenage Ashevak was given the gift of observing the carving skills of Master Carver Nuna Parr who is the most respected bear carver in the world! Adla has mastered many subjects but he focuses on bears. The Cape Dorset aesthetic of "realism" is pervasive in Adla's work. I believe that Ashevak's bears are second only to Nuna Parr's in mastery and popularity.
I challenge you to find a bear as muscled, as burly, as voluptuous as Adla's bears. As I admire these sculptures I ask myself: how do you carve a slow and lumbering gait? How do you carve nobility and magnificence? This ability takes more than talent. This is a man and an artist who respects and loves every facet of a bear's life.
It is essential for these pieces of art to be large. The large physical size has to match the bear's heroic demeanour. And when you see one of Adla's large dancing bears poised on one foot, steady and stable, you feel humble and amazed. You know you are witnessing genius.
Hailing from the isolated hamlet of Gjoa Haven, Joseph Suqsluq is known to be one of the pioneering forces in Inuit art from this region .
One of the most isolated communities in all of Canada, the style of carving is often interpreted as a "closer to nature" style. The unforgiving limestone used to create these raw-like masterpieces is perfected only by a few prominent artists in this region. Uriash, Puqinak and Joseph Suqsluq are the three who put Gjoa Haven on the map as being the prominent force in Inuit art today.
Suqsluq often connects the upper and lower teeth of his bears which intensifies their ferocity. This polar bear uses his sneering lips, bared fangs and transfixing eyes to intimidate his prey.
Joseph has the rare ability to carve movement into his carvings. Gjoa Haven artists honour the natural spirit of their animal subjects and are unique in their depiction of life.
Every collection should have at least one polar bear carving. Inuit art enthusiasts cherish their “special” polar bear.
Joseph Sugslak, 58, carver and carpenter
“In the 70s, the co-op offered a carving workshop, I took a few courses and never stopped since. It’s been my full-time job for 30 years now. I work here every day and it really gets cold in winter so I work inside. I have six children and one of them is really into carving as well.”
“I use limestone and sandstone, even granite but it’s really complicated as it wears tools a lot. Soapstone dust makes me cry and sticks all over me. It dries my eyes a lot.
“I get inspired by what’s around me. I used to be a hunter like everyone around me so I know men. I know animals.”
Joseph is approaching very close to retirement. Some of his last works are still available in our gallery. Click here to see our collection of his beautiful works.
Merry Christmas 2020.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year.
For me, Christmas is about the birth of Christ, tradition, time with family and friends, gift giving, sparkling lights and reminiscing about the year gone by.
To say 2020 has been tumultuous, is, as they say, an understatement.
But it is at this time of year, that I feel most grateful to you, my loyal customers.
Over the years, there are some of you who have become friends.
Others call to chat and connect to the world of Inuit art.
And then, there are those people who see a carving on my website, purchase it and move on.
Believe me. You are all important to me.
Every day I understand and appreciate that without you, Inuitsculptures.com would not exist.
I am especially humbled and proud that even in these chaotic times, there are many of you who still see art as an important part of your life.
In 2018, I made the decision to open a brick and mortar Studio to compliment my online gallery.
The Studio has been open now for over a year and again, because of you, it has been a success.
In Spring 2020, after the lockdown began, it was almost impossible for me to purchase new carvings. I was graced with a small collection of sculptures that had been carved during the early months of the Pandemic.
We created the Covid Collection and offered our clients a special provenance documenting the unique world situation in which these pieces were formed.
The response of my clients was positive. Thank you for recognizing the importance of this Collection to the history of Inuit art and also to each artist who needed financial support.
I have also started collecting very large Inuit carvings (some of them weigh over 500 lbs) for my clients. These pieces have a spirit and personality as large as their mass.
My mission has always been to find the best Inuit art available for my clients.
Many of us who love Inuit art recognize that when it comes to the art world, it is still undervalued and does not receive the recognition it deserves.
On a positive note, I see that this attitude is slowly changing.
As the curator of Inuitsculptures.com, I have the best job in the world.
I take my inspiration from the artists themselves.
I greatly admire the innovative spirit and the determination of the artists who provide us with this uniquely Canadian art.
I too strive to be innovative in my mission to bring the best of Inuit art to my clients, so they can be proud of their collections and be ambassadors for the Inuit.
2020 has been an uncharted journey for all of us.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
I hope you are able to connect to those you love.
I appreciate you.
Curator and Owner