Krystle Coughlin is an artist from the Selkirk First Nation in the Yukon but now resides in New Westminster, BC. She holds a BA from UBC’s Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, as well as a BFA in Visual Arts from UBC. Krystle is currently studying for her MFA at SFU’s School of Contemporary Arts and hopes to graduate in 2018. Her work is multidisciplinary, with a focus on two-dimensional composition and Indigenous aesthetics. Her work has been included in several local exhibitions, including Re:Semblance at West Vancouver’s Ferry Building Gallery and Art Party! at North Vancouver’s Seymour Art Gallery. Krystle was awarded a YVR Art Foundation Masterpiece Study Program Grant in 2015, and she became an Artist in Residence at Vancouver’s Malaspina Printmakers in 2016.
Where did the YVR Art Foundation Masterpiece Study Program Grant allow you to visit, and what did you research?
I visited the Bill Holm Center for Northwest Coast Art in Seattle. This was in 2015, and this research visit exposed me to an array of artworks that were Northern Tutchone in origin. The Selkirk First Nation is a part of the larger Northern Tutchone cultural group in the Yukon, and there are limited examples of work from this area in Vancouver. Therefore, I did not focus on one particular format or item, but rather studied all Northern Tutchone items available at the Bill Holm Center. This included masks, tools, textiles, photographs, and paintings.
To what extent did receiving a YVR Art Foundation Masterpiece Study Program Grant have an impact on your career?
The Masterpiece Study Program Grant offered by the YVR Art Foundation provided me with the connections and finances to learn more about Northern Tutchone art and design. Studying acclaimed works from my Nation has been integral to my foundation as a Northwest First Nations artist. The knowledge that I gained studying these significant artworks has become fundamental to my identity as a Northern Tutchone artist, and has allowed me the courage to expand my practice into other media, materials, and concepts.
What specific skills did you develop as a result of receiving a YVR Art Foundation Masterpiece Study Program Grant?
The YVR Art Foundation Masterpiece Study Program Grant enabled me to research Northern Tutchone art at the Burke Museum's Bill Holm Center; however, I did not expect that this grant would also connect me to the Indigenous art community in Seattle. Unexpectedly, I developed my communication skills through my interaction with various gallery owners and curators during my time in Seattle. While my time researching at the Bill Holm Centre was rewarding, I also took advantage of the many resources in the city itself. Not only did this trip provide me with knowledge, but it was also an unforgettable travel experience.