Isabelle Mark Chapadeau is a multidisciplinary artist from Iqaluit, NU, currently living in Gatineau, QC, who uses Instagram and TikTok to share her artwork and Inuit cultural knowledge.
After a creative childhood surrounded by artists, Chapadeau learned how to bead earrings at the Native Friendship Center in Montreal, QC, and from there expanded her practice to include digital art, sewing, painting and other forms of wall decoration. Beading “is where I started to feel comfortable with my hands,”  she says. Later, her roommate in Iqaluit taught her how to cut and create with sealskin, and she had her first craft sale and began to sell work through an Iqaluit art boutique. The shift from giving her work away to friends and family to selling to strangers was a difficult transition for her; in the process Chapadeau realized that her work had value and she could charge for it, because it represents her time, effort and skills.
Chapadeau’s illustrations and paintings are abstract in style, but often have messaging about Inuit culture embedded. “I love colourful things,” Chapadeau says about the candy coloured hues that make up her works. Like her graphic artworks, Chapadeau’s growing TikTok video and podcasting practice also is heavily invested in Inuit cultural knowledge—it’s about “showing where I’m coming from and exchanging,” she says. In June of 2020 she began creating a series of educational videos to educate others about Inuit culture, quickly gaining a following of more than 25,000 in her first month on Tiktok. She later expanded her focus to spread awareness on issues surrounding racial justice. Although still experimenting with the best way to reach her audience, Chapadeau has started a second Tiktok, where she posts the same content but in French, in an effort to bridge the gap between the Inuit, French and English communities in Quebec.
In the future, Chapadeau wants to learn more about fur and how to make fabric-based accessories like amauti, in order to feel closer to Inuit culture. “Indigenous art gives me motivation,” says Chapadeau about what drives her expanding practice. She’s currently working on a clothing brand with the goal of owning a boutique in Gatineau, QC, with an attached studio where Inuit can gather to make art. She plans to grow her practice until she is able to support herself through art full-time.
This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.