Nunavut teen 'takes a chance', will represent N.S. at national Art Battle
Megan Kyak-Monteith is heading to Toronto after winning the regional art battle in Halifax last week
Megan Kyak-Monteith, originally from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, can draw anything, but she prefers to sketch people on the sly.
"I'm more comfortable painting people," says Kyak-Monteith, "I like to draw them when they least expect it, capturing a moment without them knowing."
In fact, when getting ready for the Nova Scotia regional art battle, she prepared by drawing people at the airport on her way from Iqaluit to Halifax.
'Just you with a canvas'
An art battle is a live competition where artists are given 20 minutes to create the best acrylic piece possible before a live audience that judges the final work. The event is often animated with live music performances.
She was in Iqaluit, where she lives with her grandparents in the summer months, when she got the news that she was going to represent Halifax at the provincial battle on June 17.
Kyak-Monteith's efforts sketching unsuspecting airport patrons paid off: she won the provincial competition and even auctioned her piece for over $400, all without letting her nerves get to her.
"Once you start painting it's just you with a canvas, even though you're on stage and everyone is making comments," says Kyak-Monteith.
There's only one catch: the organization only pays $500 towards her flight, an amount that can cover airfare throughout most of Canada, but is just not enough for travel from Iqaluit to Toronto.
To offset the travel expense Kyak-Monteith is doing what she can to raise the money through the sale of her art, her summer job illustrating books, and other fundraising efforts.
Getting inspiration from her Inuit roots
Kyak-Monteith's art is distinctly modern, featuring bold colours and dynamic strokes, but she admits that much of her inspiration comes from her Inuit roots and life in Nunavut.
Her favourite Inuit legend is that of the Qalupalik, a cautionary tale of a sea monster who hides between the cracks of the sea ice preying on children who get too close to the water's edge.
"It's really fun to draw because they're so creepy and slimy," says Kyak-Monteith.
The young artists says that after high school she was planning to study forensic science instead of art. Going to art school was a last-minute decision made after she was awarded a scholarship.
"It has helped me a lot to smooth out the edges , to refine my art," says Kyak-Monteith.
Her advice to other artists? "If you see an opportunity, take the chance."