Patrick Hunter is a 2Spirit Ojibway Woodland artist from the community of Red Lake, in North Western Ontario. Patrick paints what he sees through a spiritual lens which is inspired by his homeland and growing up seeing the original works of Woodland painter Norval Morrisseau in various buildings around his home town.
Hunter’s first formal introduction to the Woodland Art form began in 10th grade art class, under the tutelage of one of his greatest mentors, Rhonda Bobinski-Beckman. After graduating high school in 2006, Patrick took a break from his studies to pursue a 6-month opportunity to help build confidence in others by joining the positive role-modeling organization, Turtle Concepts in Garden River First Nation. This not-for-profit organization travels to First Nation communities around North America dismantling stereotypes and encouraging others to attain their goals through positive behaviour.
In 2007, Patrick joined the team at Shingwauk Education Trust as the assistant to the Executive Director. It was there that he assisted in the early development of Shingwauk University in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, the first accredited University from a First Nations worldview, on the campus of Algoma University. From here, it was time to pursue his post-secondary career.
Patrick was successfully admitted to Sault College in 2008, where he flourished in the 3-year graphic design program. Patrick found his fit and embraced a two-term role as the President of the Indigenous Students Council which provided programming and advocacy for Indigenous students at the college.
Patrick graduated in 2011, the same year, he made the move to Toronto to begin a career as a graphic designer. Competing against hundreds of graduates from colleges and universities in Southern Ontario was a different beast than competing against the 10 other students he graduated with at Sault College. Freelance work would come and go, as well as part-time positions in retail and the service industry. These experiences would lead him to discover that to become an artist and graphic designer a leap of faith would be required.
He’s always had a small following of people from his home and Sault Ste. Marie that commissioned paintings over the years. This gave him the confidence to focus on the one thing that he wanted to do, which was his artwork. In 2015, Patrick launched Patrick Hunter Art & Design, specializing in artwork and designs from his cultural background with the intent of making artwork that creates a broader awareness of Indigenous iconography.
“I learned early on that designing the things I wanted to see brought to life gave me so much more joy than trying to interpret an employer's point of view. When you design from the heart of you, that’s what resonates with people.”
Since the launch of his design business, he has seen his business grow from creating custom paintings for individual clients to create custom graphics for multinational corporations. By deciding to make his artwork more accessible to people through the sale of small prints, Patrick began a journey into retail. Once seeing how happy it made people having the artwork on their walls, he wanted to see people IN the artwork and launched small runs of clothing designs on various apparel pieces.
To date, Patrick Hunter Art & Design has had many collaborations in various forms with:
eBay Canada, RBC & BMO Banks, EGALE Canada, STAPLES Promotional Products, Global Affairs Canada, the Prince’s Trust Canada, ROGERS, the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, EY, Toronto City Hall, Village Media, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Harbourfront Centre, Tapestry Opera, SIGG North America, Evergreen Brickworks, West Elm, CTV’s “Cardinal”, CBC, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 5Rivers Publishing, Massey College, Bruce Power, Camp OOCH, Sault College, Algoma University, Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, Timeraiser, Pure Gold Mining, Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, and the Red Lake Lions Club.
His works can be viewed in the buildings around Toronto such as at CBC Headquarters, Toronto City Hall, TD & BMO banks, The Prince’s Trust Canada, Rogers Headquarters, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
“I think it’s important for companies today to realize the land they are on was once another culture's territory. Public acknowledgments of that fact are such a great first step towards being on the right side of history.”
Through his journey, Patrick has also found importance in sharing what he’s learned so far as an artist through the creation of custom art workshops. These classes teach every generation that they can pick up a paintbrush and have artistic confidence to create a painting.
Patrick currently resides in Toronto, but still makes regular journeys home to Red Lake to stay inspired, be with family. and teach art classes to the next generation of Woodland artists.