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A new partnership for Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter

Hunter and Purolator are combining forces to make the holidays a little brighter.

Patrick Hunter, a two-spirit Ojibwe artist from Red Lake is excited about his future and how far he’s come in his career. This holiday season comes with a new opportunity for Hunter to continue his excitement.

Purolator has released 13 limited-edition festive art boxes, designed by emerging Canadian artists from all provinces and territories and Hunter is among the 13 artists.

An estimated 46 million boxes are predicted to be shipped this holiday season, giving Hunter much deserved exposure.

“This is just such a great opportunity to subtly influence Canadians and whoever gets the box [worldwide] to learn a little more about First Nations culture and be exposed to it in a kind of cute, not so in-your-face way.”

Not only will these artfully designed boxes look beautiful under the tree but will give gift-givers and gift-receivers a chance to discover Canada’s vast Indigenous culture.

“One of the intentions that I do as a two-spirit Ojibwe artist is to try and give some visibility to First Nations art and culture.”
 

From the northern woods to the southern lights

Hunter says his inspiration for this project and his art stems from his childhood in Red Lake and the vast forestry he was exposed to.

“You’re always in nature whether you like it or not and I remember being a kid and looking as far as the eye could see and just seeing trees and rocks and lakes and that feeling of ‘ugh, it’s so dull here I can’t wait to get out of here,’” he says, “Cut to me being 32, living in Toronto and I go out on my roof and I’m like, ‘there’s nothing but lights and billboards’ and being excited about going back to the woods.”

This nature we all sometimes take for granted at a young age is what has made Hunter the known artist he is today.

A full-time artist and graphic designer for six years, this partnership with Purolator solidifies his full-time career in the Canadian art world.
 

Beyond the canvas

Hunter entered into the graphic design program at Sault College in 2008 and also took on a two-term role as the President of the Indigenous Students Council which provided programming and advocacy for Indigenous students at the college.

After his graduation in 2011, Hunter made the move to Toronto to begin work as a freelancer and doing commissions.

In 2015 he launched Patrick Hunter Art and Designs, specializing in artwork and designs from his cultural background. His intent is to make art that creates a broader awareness of Indigenous iconography.

“My hope is that Indigeneity gets out there in a more public way.”
 

2020, an artful gift

Hunter says 2020, amongst the worldwide changes, has been good to him. Already working from home, he got to realize the impact of social media and the importance of mental health.

At the beginning of COVID he released free and downloadable colouring books and hosted virtual paint workshops.

He’s currently in the midst of designing a small houseware product line and is looking for a production studio closer to Sault Ste. Marie. He says it’s time to venture closer to his roots and the nature that inspires his career.

He has always prioritized mentoring youth and helping up-and-coming artists in any way he can and will continue to do this as his career keeps growing.

“I just want to help the next guy who’s coming behind me,” because, as Hunter says, “we’re not all in the same boat but we’re in the same storm.”
 

Purolator package pick-up and drop-off services are available at 135 Michaels retail stores across Canada, offering customers more convenient ways to send and receive packages, including curbside service. To celebrate the new partnership, Purolator and Michaels are also making it easier for Canadians to share moments of joy and create personalized packages for loved ones this holiday season.

Limited-edition Canadian artist–designed boxes and Design-a-Box Sweepstakes. Canadians will be able to send packages to family and friends in specially designed art boxes — available early December at Purolator Shipping Centres and Mobile Quick Stop trucks and Michaels locations nationwide — when they ship using Purolator Express® services.

Michaels is challenging Canadians to design and share their own shipping box artwork through a Design-a-Box Sweepstakes. The contest will award the creator of one winning design with a grand prize of $1,000 worth of Michaels supplies, plus free shipping with Purolator (up to $1,200). Canadians can visit michaels.ca/en/boxdesignsweeps for contest details and to learn more about the artists.