Cole Pauls 2023 Finalist
Cole Pauls is a Champagne and Aishihik Citizen and Tahltan comic artist, illustrator, and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory). He holds a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University. Residing in Vancouver, Pauls has created three graphic novels: Dakwäkãda Warriors (2019), Pizza Punks (2021) and Kwändür (2022). In 2017, Pauls won Broken Pencil Magazine’s Best Comic and Best Zine of the Year Award for Dakwäkãda Warriors II. In 2020, Dakwäkãda Warriors won Best Work in an Indigenous Language from the Indigenous Voices Awards and was nominated for the Doug Wright Award categories The Egghead & The Nipper. In 2022, Artspeak gallery, Vancouver, held the first solo exhibition of Pauls’ work, Dazhän Kwändür ch’e (This is a Story).
My main focus currently is creating Yukon Indigenous comics that are for other Yukon First Nations. By incorporating traditional language in my comics I’m trying to engage the reader in Yukon traditions in an accessible way that anyone can understand, even if they’re not a Yukoner or Indigenous. It’s really important to me to create an authentic representation of Yukon First Nations in media and fight back the tropes and racist stereotypes past comics/media have enforced. I am creating the comics I always wanted to read as Yukon youth and including my community in the writing process has helped me incredibly to get things correct.
"My First Crit at Emily Carr"
4 Pages 8.5” by 11” Ink and Paper
"Ja Tsän Ach'äw? or Where is He From?
8 Pages 8.5” by 13” Ink and Paper
Ja Tsän Ach’äw? or Where is He From? in Southern Tutchone is the final chapter in Kwändür. It serves as book ends for my graphic novel. 9 years have passed since my First Crit at Emily Carr and I figured it was time to give the comic more context and really explain why my classmate calling me “non-native” just based off the colour of my skin was racist. My whole life I’ve had to prove my Indigeneity and authentic self and this was another story for me to tell that.
"Arctic and Dene Games"
16 Pages, 8.5” by 13” Ink and Paper
The Arctic Winter Games for their 50th anniversary in 2020 2 commissioned me to create these comics for a group art show at the Yukon Art Centre. Originally I made 5 for that show but when I wanted to include those comics in my latest book,I decided to draw the other 11 traditional sports that are played in the AWG.
4 Pages 8.5” by 13” Ink and Paper
Permanent Regalia was a comic I was commissioned by the Globe and Mail to create an opinion piece. I decided on talking about traditional tattoos because it’s a big passion of mine and I love to get formline tattoos. But I always get a lot of questions as to why I do it, who did it and if can you get one as a non-native person. So I figured why not create a comic about my personal experience getting Permanent Regalia and answer those questions.
"Känt'ay Kay Gùyāt Sòthän Yè K'àdädlü"
1 Page 11” by 14” Ink and Paper
Känt’ay Kay Gùyāt Sòthän Yè K’àdädlü or She is Sewing A Slipper Top with Some Pretty Beads is a comic I created for Salmon Run, my all indigenous newpaper comic anthology that VanCAF published in 2021. I chose to make the theme of the newspaper momentum and decided to focus on the momentum of beadwork. So 3 many of my cousins who bead tell me stories of people trying to undercut them or tell them their earring prices are too big and I really wanted to illustrate the struggle and frustrations that go into finishing those 100 dollar earrings. I showed this to the same cousin and she told me “This isn’t funny its just triggering” hahahaha
"Just Like Us"
4 Pages 8.5” by 13” Ink and Paper
1 Page 18” by 24” Ink and Paper
The cover to Kwändür is actually my parent’s backyard. I grew up in those bushes. Playing, fighting, learning. Each of those antlers is a moose my dad harvested that I grew up eating. I lived a very traditional lifestyle growing up and I never thought 4 twice about it until moving to Vancouver. It was normal for me to eat moose 3-4 meals a week and go sledding on a cold day. This illustration of my parents backyard is actually a self-portrait. Growing up in the Yukon as a light skinned native, I always felt like I was built for the landscape, but it was the wrong season. Just like a snow machine in the summer.