Dayle Kubluitok is an artist living in Iqaluit, NU, who was born in Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), NU. She recently completed a mural in the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre as part of a $75,000 partnership between the Centre and wireless carrier Northwestel. Her primary focus is digital art illustration through graphic design, but Kubluitok also paints, illustrates, and recently began block printing. John Geoghegan, Senior Editor of the IAQ, sat down with her at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit to discuss her artistic process.
John Geoghegan: Could you start by introducing yourself?
Dayle Kubluitok: My name is Dayle Kubluitok, I’m from Rankin Inlet, and I make digital art.
JG: When did you start making art?
DK: It started after high school. Everyone I knew was going off to college and I still didn’t know what to do, so I just randomly picked art and design fundamentals, just to try it.
JG: How would you describe your aesthetic?
DK: It’s between illustration and cartoon.
JG: Are there any artists or, or mentors that you’ve worked with who’ve really inspired you to make work?
DK: There is my best friend. We have drawing sessions that we’ve been doing for so long. She’s the main reason why I started drawing.
JG: I saw down in the gift shop of the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum that you’ve been making prints. Can you talk to me a little bit about the printmaking and the block printing you’ve been doing?
DK: It’s the first medium I’ve done other than digital. I’d love to do it more.
JG: Where did you learn how?
DK: I just looked up stuff online. I’m a self-taught kind of person. I just can’t do classes anymore.
JG: People have been printmaking in the North for sixty years now, and they’ve always relied on people from the South coming up and teaching techniques. You should be really proud that you taught yourself! Are there any other prints that you’re working on, or that you’d like to work on in the future?
DK: I’ve only done small-scale. I would love to do a very big scale big block printing, if I had the time.
JG: Can you describe your drawing process?
DK: It just comes to me. I just start doodling, or thinking at night—it’s not like a ritual, (laughs), like a whole process. I just start doing it, and see what happens.
Dayle Kubluitok Sketch for Mural (2019) COURTESY THE ARTIST
JG: Do you have a favourite moment from your artistic career? Your biggest achievement?
DK: It would be getting picked for the NorthwestTel Nunavut Directory cover competition. That was surprising, because I know there was a lot of amazing artists here. It’s nice for my family, too, because they’re like, ‘she’s my daughter!’ It’s just a nice feeling.
JG: Are there any dream project that you have?
DK: I would love to do a graphic novel and some short animations of Inuit legends.
JG: What are the barriers that you think you face?
DK: Time. It’s time and money. Trying to make an art career I can live off of is difficult. I would love to, it’s just, it doesn’t bring rent money.
JG: Do you have a favourite thing to draw?
DK: Women. I just love the whole face tattoo, Inuit traditional tattoos. I love to draw those.
JG: Can you talk a little about your own traditional tattoos?
DK: They’re not traditionally done, but they’re done with a gun. The chin was done by Zorg [Qaunaq], stick-and-poke, about three years ago? And the fingers were done a year ago.
JG: What does it mean to you that Inuit women are reclaiming such an ancient tradition?
DK: Everyone is getting ideas, and it’s really good to be Inuk nowadays. I’m really happy being proud of that.
JG: Is there anything that you would want people to know about when they’re looking at your work?
DK: What I do is not really traditional of Inuit art. It’s a representation of all kinds of genres and I’m working to get Inuk faces on them.