Arsaniq Deer

Arsaniq Deer
Photo Rosemin Nathoo


Currently based in Montreal, QC, Arsaniq Deer is a traditional tattoo artist, painter and illustrator from Quaqtaq, Nunavik, QC. Surrounded since birth by an artistic family, creativity was always fostered and encouraged and depictions of Inuit women, myths and legends remain favourites of Deer. “My mom used to help me in painting and drawing for my school projects. That’s sort of how I started out.” [1] Experimenting first with acrylics and now with watercolours, Deer is now collaborating with her mother, illustrating her children’s story “Juutani”. Along with collaborating on a book, Deer performed her very first tattoo on her mother. “It was an honour”, [1] remarked Deer. 

Introduced to the practice and history of traditional Inuit tattooing while studying at Nunavik Sivunitsavut, Deer quickly developed interest in the art form. Researching and studying Inuit tattooing outside of the classroom, Deer obtained archives from Avataq and absorbed all she could. When news came that renowned tattoo artist, Hovak Johnson, would be in Montreal to teach and tattoo women, Deer booked her appointment and got her first tattoos. Gifting Johnson with a wolf pelt and a drawing in exchange for her markings, Deer was then invited to sit in on her mother’s tattoo session the following day. “Hovak invited me over there to watch,” she recalls, “And then we spoke and she told me she had the same feeling with her last apprentice, saying she thinks I would be able to do [tattooing]. She asked me if I wanted to try tattooing my mom. I only did a couple lines [but] that was my first experience with tattooing.” [1] Following that session, Johnson gifted Deer a tattoo starter kit and took her on as an apprentice, kick-starting her tattoo practice which she continues to develop.

This Profile was made possible through support from the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project.


Artist Work

About Arsaniq Deer


Graphic Arts, Painting, Tattooing, Textile, Visual Arts

Artistic Community:

Quaqtaq, QC