The Yukon Illustration Coalition (YILCO) is a newly formed community of Yukon-based illustrators—one that’s focused on collaborating and supporting one another.

“Illustration is sometimes looked down upon as a form of art,” says Tedd Tucker, who came up with the idea for the coalition. “It’s not an art form you often see featured in traditional gallery settings. In bigger cities, there’s often a big coffee shop scene where illustrators can show their work, but outside of Baked, we don’t really have that here in Whitehorse. We wanted to create more opportunities for indie and contemporary art, and to help create a space for illustration artists to have their work seen.”

Tucker says it can be daunting for artists to try and create a full solo show. With this in mind, the coalition wants to bring illustration artists together to collaborate on the development of exhibitions. YILCO’s first opportunity to showcase that collaboration came quickly on the heels of its formation.

“With COVID there’s available spaces to show work out there right now,” says Tucker. “One of the local galleries had a cancellation and was facing bare walls in November, so we jumped on the opportunity.”

The theme the coalition chose for this first exhibition is Beast of the Boreal.

“Many of the coalition members work as commercial artists and are used to a lot of client direction when they are creating work,” says Tucker. “With this in mind, we tried to keep the theme of the show very broad so that the artists could really stretch their wings and dig their teeth into the work.”

Tucker, who works as a designer, says he often works collaboratively with clients, so this provided a unique experience in that he was free to draw whatever he wanted. Other artists featured in the show include Asia Hyde, Charlie Fidler, Esther Bordet, Gorellaume, Jordan Stevens, Monica Melnychuk, Miss Millie, Sheelah Tolton, Teagan Beemer and Virginie Hamel. Media includes pen, watercolour, pencil and digital illustration.

“We’re excited to have this foundation for future shows,” says Tucker. “It was a lot of administrative work to set up this first show, but now that we’ve crossed that first hurdle we have a lot of ambitious plans for the future.”

Beast of the Boreal shows at Northern Front Studio (110-2237 2nd Ave.) from November 2 to 20.
It can be viewed Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Yukon Illustration Coalition is open to welcoming new members. Please reach out to yukonillustration@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved, or if you have any questions about the group’s activities. You can learn more about the coalition’s plans at Yilco.ca, or on its Facebook and Instagram channels @yukon.ilco.

Of Beasts and Branches