Interview with Noah Maniapik

28 Apr

Noah Maniapik, courtesy of the artist

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing artist Noah Maniapik in anticipation of his printmaking workshop at MIA on May 14th. Starting at 12:30 on the 14th, he will be giving a one hour printmaking demonstration before working with our visitors to make their own prints to take home. I was excited for the event before, but after meeting Noah and his friend Emily who will be assisting with the printmaking, I can’t wait for the 14th to get here.

If you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook, you’ll know that I have been asking if anyone had any questions they would like me to ask Noah. We got some incredible questions and I am very happy to post the answers here, in addition to questions of my own. If you have any more questions you’d like to ask Noah, keep letting us know! And be sure to come to the workshop on the 14th – you can get the details here on the blog, on our website, and RSVP on Facebook.

"The Old Days" by Noah Maniapik, 2006, Stencil Print (c) Noah Maniapik

MIA: We just have a couple questions for you, some of them are from our visitors and I think they’re really exciting, so let’s get started! How did you begin making art?

Noah: As a kid I found that I was naturally talented. Ever since then I’ve been doing art up until early 2000 when I started taking it seriously.

I understand that you have also done carvings as well as jewelry-making. I guess you prefer printmaking – is that true?

Yes.

Can I ask why that is?

Probably because of the material. What I was using was ivory and to inhale it was very hard on the lungs and that’s the main reason.

So you prefer printmaking because it’s easier on you in terms of your health?

Yes.

How much formal training have you had, if any?

I’ve taken a few printmaking workshops as well as some courses through Arctic College and with other people who have come by, and a little bit in high school.

And when did you first start printmaking?

2001, I started making prints.

And that year you had prints released in the annual collection.

Yes, that’s right.

That’s exciting. We have some questions about your printmaking process and a lot of these come from our visitors. The first one is from Kate – she wanted to know what inspires your artwork?

Other people’s art. My uncles are mostly artists and I watched them when I was a kid, as well as my grandfather was a carver. They have inspired me.

Joceline wanted to know what your favorite subject matter is and does it change depending on the form of the art or the method of printmaking?

I like to be different in the work that I do and I like a variety of forms of art, not necessarily one thing.

Joceline also wanted to know if you had a favorite method of printmaking?

Yes I do, which I do now – stencil printmaking.

So why is that your favorite?

Because each piece is an original because we cannot duplicate it like with linoleum cut or woodcut – it’s basically all the same, where with stencils each piece is an original. You try to make them the same but each piece is original.

Our visitors will get to see that on the 14th! This is actually my question – do you have particular materials you prefer using, like different sorts of papers, and does that depend on the kinds of print you’re making?

I’ve tried various different colors and the one that’s really working for me now is white on black. I prefer that because it’s really different and like I said, I like to be different.

"Transformation" by Noah Maniapik, Stencil Print, (c) Noah Maniapik

Definitely. Within the printmaking studio, is there a split between artists who draw, printmakers who make the prints and artists like yourself who create your own prints?

For the collection pieces, we will pick. Say, if I like that piece, someone’s art piece, I will take that with his or her permission and I can print that and I can do my own pieces as well.

Do you find that there’s a big difference between doing your own pieces or someone else’s, in the way that you approach it?

Yes.

Which one do you like doing more?

My own pieces because that way I don’t have any conflict with the artist.

Does that happen a lot?

It all depends on the person. They might say, “Oh, I didn’t want it that way. Why did you print it that way?”

It all works out in the end though, right?

Yeah.

Well, that’s good. Kate wanted to know what is your favorite print that you’ve produced?

…the bear [“Our Food II”].

"Our Food II" by Noah Maniapik, Stencil print, 51/60 (c) Noah Maniapik

How long does it take to make a print?

Average? 15 minutes to half an hour. It all depends on the size.

One of our volunteers named Kim noticed a certain symmetry in your prints, especially around the edges. Is that composition conscious or do you try to get a certain balance in the images that you print?

I try to. You can’t always create it that way, but I try.

She also wanted to know, with the final image in mind and once you’ve had it drawn, how do you conceptualize and create stencils?

You just have to be creative.

Karolina wanted to know if you ever come up with an idea for a print that you then have to abandon or change due to the nature of the process?

Yes, when I do an image and I don’t like it, I usually leave it because I’m very conscious of what I make. Then again other people might like it, but I usually put it aside until I can work on it some more.

Does that happen often?

A few times.

You said you’re really interested in white on black – do you see your style moving in different directions?

I’m always open to new things and that was something that I tried and people liked. Sometimes, it’s also based on demand and what people want.

Do you think prints from Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung) have a unique style, or does it just vary among the artists?

I think it varies among the artists because it’s very similar to Holman prints because we use the same method, stencil prints. But we do have different techniques as well, we do etchings, lithography and woodcuts.

You mentioned before that your method of making stencil prints is different than the one they use in Ulukhaktok (Holman), is that right?

Yes. In Holman they do the swiping technique with the brush, where in Pangnirtung we do the dabbing technique. The dabbing technique gives it more of an airbrushed effect.

Are there institutional factors that affect your ability to make prints? I know we had been talking earlier about the need for artists to sometimes have other jobs or the need for materials. 

Yes. Logisics… say, if the Centre runs out of materials you have to wait for the materials to come in before you can make any prints.

Well, you can’t make prints out of nothing, that’s true! Taylor wanted to know if, other than yourself, you had a favorite artist. I know you mentioned your family members being inspirations. 

I would say my favorite artist was Tivi Ashevak. He’s passed on, but he’s inspired me the most.

Are you excited for the event on the 14th? 

Yes I am. I’m a little nervous, but excited!

Thank you again to Noah for taking the time to talk with me and answer some of your (and my) questions! Before the event, we’ll be posting blog features on printmaking, especially in Panniqtuuq (and some more of Noah’s pieces!), but be sure to come to the printmaking workshop on the 14th to learn all about it first hand!

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

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  1. Adopt an Object: Our Food II « Peek Inside the Museum of Inuit Art - February 2, 2013

    […] II is the only print in the MIA collection to be specifically made for the Museum of Inuit Art. Noah Maniapik made this piece during the printmaking demonstration that took place at the museum on May 14, 2011. […]

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