In an art class in 10th grade, Patrick Hunter was introduced to woodland art design by one of his greatest mentors, Rhonda Bobinski-Beckman A decade later, he is a 2 Spirit Ojibway Woodland artist, graphic designer, and entrepreneur from Red Lake in North Western Ontario who specializes in fine and digital artwork designs inspired by his Indigenous cultural background.
An Indigenous Journey to Art
In 2006, Hunter joined a not-for-profit organization, Turtle Concepts in Garden River First Nation, that travels to First Nation communities across North America to dismantle stereotypes and encourage Indigenous groups to achieve their objectives through constructive behavior. In 2007, he joined the team at Shingwauk Education Trust as the assistant to the Executive Director, where he assisted in the early development of Shingwauk University, the first accredited university from a First Nations worldview.
In 2008, he decided to resume his education and was successfully admitted to Sault College for the graphic design program. Here, he discovered his calling and accepted a two-term presidency of the college’s Indigenous Students’ Council, which offered programming and advocacy for Indigenous students.
After graduating in 2011, Patrick moved to Toronto to begin a career as a graphic designer. Initially, he did freelance work, part-time positions in the retail and service industry and contract-based projects. These experiences made Hunter realize the need for a leap of faith to stay afloat and competent in South Ontario’s talent pool.
An Indigenous Art and Design Brand
In 2014, he made a major career decision and launched Patrick Hunter’s Art & Design. Knowing that his cultural background would benefit his success, he focused on fine and digital artwork and designs from his Ojibway ancestry to raise awareness of Indigenous culture and iconography.
Since the launch of his design business, the company has grown steadily, from creating custom paintings for individual customers to producing custom graphics for multinational corporations. In addition, Patrick entered retail to make his artwork more accessible to people by selling small prints and expanding his artwork into clothing designs on various apparel pieces.
Recognized for his paintings in the Woodland art style, Patrick paints what he sees through a spiritual lens. His works are inspired by his homeland and by the original works of Woodland painter Norval Morrisseau.
The small following of people from his home and Sault Ste Marie, who commissioned paintings over the years, gave him the confidence to focus on his artwork. Patrick’s dream is to provide a promising future for his people and give back to his community for all the support he has received. This led him to become the first Artist in Residence for the Prince’s Trust Canada, a Royal charity that aids in the reclamation of Indigenous languages in Canada.
Patrick Hunter has established himself in art and the corporate world. Joining the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce led Hunter to partner with companies, including RBC, BMO, STAPLES Canada, and Redwood Classics apparel. In 2016, he was selected by web giant eBay Canada to do an apparel collection, and all sales proceeds were given to Indigenous charities. His scarf collection was purchased as a gift by Global Affairs Canada. He has also been associated with educational and Indigenous institutions like Sault College, Algoma University, and the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre.
As a result of these collaborations, his works can be viewed in the buildings around Toronto, such as at the CBC Headquarters, Toronto City Hall, TD & BMO banks, The Prince’s Trust Canada, Rogers Headquarters, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Through his journey as an artist, Patrick finds it important to share what he has learnt over the course. As a result, he has created art workshops that imbibe artistic confidence in every generation to pick up a paintbrush and teach them to create paintings. It is a unique art-focused workshop to help students better understand and relate to Native cultures.
Patrick resides in Toronto, where he runs a business and does his artwork. He frequently travels back to Red Lake to spend time with his family, teach the next generation of Woodland artists and stay inspired.
He enjoys creating artwork that brings to life what he wants to see, as he thinks that heartfelt designs have the power to connect with people. To know more about his products, visit his website, https://www.patrickhunter.ca/.
Indigenous artists are raising awareness of their culture among a wider audience and providing a platform for upcoming Indigenous artists. To read more about these initiatives, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.