Artist Spotlight – Enoch Evak

Enoch Evak is an Alaskan Inupiaq carver and etcher. It has been his career for over 40 years.

Enoch started drawing when he was 3 years old. The first thing he drew was a dog. Enoch’s dad drew a picture of a dog for his brother, and he wanted a picture of a dog too. So, he drew himself a dog by copying his dad’s drawing. He says, “I’ve been copying ever since. I’m glad he didn’t draw me that dog. Now I can copy anything today. It taught me to copy things.”

Enoch uses the same method in his art today. He looks at the space around the animal. “Not just the animal but the space around it, then I carve out that space.”

Enoch began carving in high school, where an ivory carving class was offered. “I took that ‘cause another class was full, haha.” The first thing he carved was an ivory seal, because it looked easy to carve. “It looked alright. It looked like a seal.”

Enoch started carving as a full-time job in early 20s. He carved ivory for 27 years before he began etching baleen. He sold his first baleen etchings to Value House, a small dry goods store in Kotzebue. They were etchings of a snowy owl and of a crane. “The ladies there didn’t think they’d sell. They sold right away.” And he has been working on etching ever since.

Enoch is currently carving walrus ivory into a dog figurine. His inspiration for this piece comes from the shape of the ivory. Dog carvings are a specialty of his, being that they are first thing he drew as a kid.  He says he may carve a seal next.