Still time to visit the Calgary library to see Indigenous artist at work

Monday, March 27th, 2023 11:36am


Image Caption

Kristy North Peigan is Indigenous Artist in Residence at the Calgary Public Library.
By Crystal St.Pierre
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Correction: Kristy North Peigan's residency runs until May 15, not April 15 as previously reported.

Kristy North Peigan, a member of the Piikani First Nation, is the Indigenous Artist in Residence at the Calgary Public Library where she has been showcasing her artistic talents and techniques since February.

Though her residency will be coming to an end on May 15, there is still time to book one-on-one consultations with the artist or go and have a chat about how she works.

Funded by TD, artists in residence are provided with their own studio for the duration of their residencies, and the public has the opportunity to watch them create, ask questions and ultimately learn directly from them in a one-on-one atmosphere.

“I get to create some new pieces and actually take some time for myself as an artist, which has been very gratifying. Not only that, but actually be able to speak to the visitors and the public coming into the studio,” North Peigan said.

That opportunity to visit is what drew her to the residency. It fits with one of North Peigan’s personal goals for 2023.

“That’s what this year is about and what I wanted to do with this residency. It was an opportunity to speak to the public and speak to youth and help show my mixed-media artistic style,” North Peigan told

When she announced the residency on Instagram North Peigan said she “really wanted to focus on breaking out of my shell again, and really share more of myself to hopefully inspire some creative minds on/off reserve who are a little odd, a bit nerdy, but bursting with hopes and aspirations!”
She promised more art and cosplay! “But doing it all indigenously.”

“In 2023 I am not going to be shy. I’m really going to put myself out there and really be present in my community in more of a public way, because we need the representation.”

North Peigan received a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design degree with a focus in illustration from the Alberta University of the Arts in 2015. According to the library’s Instagram account, North Peigan uses Indigenous teachings and subject matter to portray a modern view of Indigenous voices in portraits and surreal spaces.

She challenges what it means to be an Indigenous artist and isn't afraid to break the rules, reads a statement about the residency. North Peigan incorporates her love of cosplay, gaming and comics into her art pieces.

There has always been a strong passion within her to draw, North Peigan said. She remembers as a child digging through her grandmother’s drawers looking for a coloured pen or pencil and a blank piece of paper.

“I didn’t have a lot of stuff growing up. I was actually only (using) pencil and paper until I got to art school,” North Peigan explained. “I did a lot of portraits, actually. I loved all the really cool characters on the VHS tape covers when my mom bought a new movie.  It was an early study of composition, as well. I was doing it unintentionally.”

And as her passion for art grew, so did the mediums in which she was able to create. She developed a talent for digital art using a variety of computer programs. And she was introduced to oil paint and began incorporating that into her work.

“These two mediums have both been the loves of my life, in a way, as an artist,” North Peigan said. “So, I needed to find a way that I could create art using both of these mixed medias.”

What she developed is a unique technique that she describes as “fiber punky.”

The first step is she creates a digital piece of artwork and takes it halfway to being complete. From there she prints it out on canvas and then dives in with her oil paints.

“When you are looking up close you can’t quite see where the digital paint ends and the oil paint begins,” she said. “Making digital art that much more fine art with the oil paint.”

There is also a little extra touch she brings into her work with her love of cosplay and gaming.

Incorporating all three aspects into her artwork is one of the reasons she believes younger people can relate to her so well.

In addition to the residency at the library, North Peigan also works with Indigenous youth programming through the Stampede Foundation in Calgary.

“I can’t speak high enough (about) how much these kids appreciate having someone who is older and kind of established, especially in the City of Calgary, that can relate to them and their experiences, as well as show them that it’s possible, especially as creative artists, to be successful and established and have paid work and be appreciated and not tokenized.”

In the future, North Peigan hopes she can be established enough to start giving back to her own communities. One of the ways she hopes to do that is by gifting art kits filled with supplies for those children who have a passion for creating but don’t have the tools.

“That’s kind of the goal, is to get myself established enough to give back to my community.”

North Peigan is on Instagram @KristiclesGG.

The Calgary Public Library is located at 800 3 St SE, Calgary and the website  can provide more information on North Peigan’s residency here: Artist in Residence | Calgary Public Library (

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Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.