Blake Shaá'koon Lepine

Artist Spotlight: Picturing the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit

Creating Indigenous Sovereignty Representation Activism
Artist Blake Lepine dressed in traditonal clothing standing by water

An artist born and raised in Whitehorse, YT, Blake Shaá’koon Lepine designed the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit logo. Although he considers his primary medium to be carving, the talented multidisciplinary artist’s practice also encompasses silkscreen printing, design work, beading, textiles, painted leather, collage, block printing, watercolour and even songwriting.

Blake Lepine on the land in 2021. Courtesy 2022 Arctic Arts Summit.

Lepine, who is of Tlingit, Cree, Han and Scottish descent as well as a member of the Carcross Tagish First Nation, is heavily inspired by his Tlingit roots in particular. This perspective informed Lepine’s approach when designing the logo, which is based on the origin story of Raven transforming himself into a spruce needle. “I wanted to create this logo about that moment of transformation, that moment of inspiration, that moment of creation.”

The 2022 Arctic Arts Summit logo reflects and is informed by elements from the land. The graphic formline design encompasses stylized animal forms, including ravens, in a symmetrical jade, violet and orange composition. The deep green of the image represents the forests while a vibrant golden orange signifies local flowers with medicinal flowers symbolized by rich, warm purple.

Lepine at work on the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit logo. Courtesy 2022 Arctic Arts Summit.

Lepine was first inspired to get into art at the age of seven, from Tlingit carving books his mother had. He later spent years developing his own stylized form and interpretation of this traditional art form. 

His first solo exhibition, Factory Life, was held at Arts Underground’s Focus Gallery in Whitehorse, YT, in September 2019. Other career highlights include performing at the 2016 North West Coast Dance Festival in Vancouver, BC, and composing the Tlingit vocals for the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games official theme song “Bring it North.” “For me,” Lepine explains, “art is a cultural practice about my own experience of life.”