Pile O’ Bones held their 18th annual Tattoo Convention at the Turvey Centre over the weekend, where artists from across the country were able to showcase their talent.
Nolan Malbeuf is a Métis tattoo artist from northern Saskatchewan and although he is passionate about art, he never thought of it as a profession.
“I always identified as an athlete,” Malbeuf said. “And then about 11 years ago I was in a car accident which kind of changed the course of my life.”
Malbeuf could not participate in sports following the accident which opened his eyes to the art and world of ink.
“I have developed a style that I call medicine, primarily based on Métis beadwork, animals, and nature,” Malbeuf said.
“It’s really important to me. I feel like I have experienced a resurgence and my own life.”
He calls the style “maskihki” and it’s bringing Malbeuf clients from across the country.
“Tattoos aren’t just something you put on your skin. There’s a relationship between you and the artist,” Vicki Bouvier explained.
Bouvier traveled to Calgary to get a Malbeuf tattoo.
“So sitting with Nolan and getting a tattoo in that way was important,” she said.
Bouvier was inked with a tattoo depicting a medicine tree on her left arm. The specific plant has a significant meaning in Métis culture.
“Those designs are indicative and reflect the places that we come from and the kinship with the land and how we survive,” Bouvier said.
Malbeuf hopes to inspire future generations of Indigenous artists by sharing his art and lessons learned.
“My message would be to try, don’t limit yourself, and take risks. You have to put yourself out there to the people, be vulnerable and learn,” he explained.
“For me to be able to put Indigenous-inspired art on people it feels like it’s an absolute gift.”
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