As many of you may remember, few years ago I was invited to the Yukon by Canadian curator Harreson Tanner for an extraordinary experience. For two weeks, we would travel from Whitehorse to Dawson City to Ross River, along with Yukon photographer Christian Kuntz, on a curatorial tour of 17 artists’ studios to explore possibilities of developing projects that could generate greater awareness of the territory’s visual artists in the U.S., particularly the East Coast.
As we visited each studio, I experienced the Yukon in an extraordinary way – through the stories and artwork of each of these talented artists.
The Yukon wilderness is never far from one’s doorstep, even in the city of Whitehorse. It is a presence that is part of life here, even for short-time visitors, and that presence is felt in the work of its artists.
Far from being mere observers, the artists are as honest and wild as the Yukon itself. Their passion for their work runs deep as it is intricately woven into their daily lives. Inspiration arrives on the wings of ravens or in a herd of migrating caribou. It is found on the branches of snow-laden trees, in the breathtaking landscape and in the people who call the Yukon home. It is painted on canvas, carved in bone, molded in clay, captured on camera. It carries the stories of First Nations elders and the realities of contemporary life.
At the same time, the work transcends this “sense of place,” as all great art does, offering new ways to experience the world and insights into our own relationship with the earth and each other.
For one of the U.S. initiatives for this group of Yukon artists, I pitched the idea of an all-Yukon edition to ACS Magazine, an innovative international digital art magazine based in Chicago. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Renée LaVerné Rose approved the idea and the Yukon artists, inviting me as senior consulting editor for the issue. As there is always a “vagabond” included with every “artful” project, I added a tourism component through images and a video from the Government of Yukon Department of Tourism and Culture.
My goal with this issue was to recreate my Yukon experience for the readers of ACS Magazine. Click on the image at the top of this post to view the magazine issue, start off with the video on page 4 and enjoy the adventure!
Renée and I were interviewed by Tara McCarthy at CBC Radio North on how it all came together. Enjoy!