I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation (Wolf Clan), raised in Oklahoma and now residing in the Front Range near Manitou Springs CO.My free time is spent enjoying the outdoors, often collecting the materials used in my art.My art is often functional art, such as hiking sticks and bowls, but is only limited by the materials I collect.
As I hike, I look for and collect interesting pieces of wood; often not yet visualizing what they will become.Most my material used in my art is collected between 8,500 and 11,800’ (the top of the tree line).It is not uncommon to hike 5 miles and 1500’ in elevation to return with one piece of material.Semi-precious minerals can be found nearby, where I collect amazonite, smoky quartz and crystal.You will often find these materials imbedded in my art along with materials more common to pueblo artist such as turquoise and red coral.
I only use fallen and dead trees.Trees succumbed to insect damage or fire, are special; allowing nature to contribute to the one of a kind beauty of each piece.What might look like a piece of wood best suited for the fireplace, I look for movement and curls in the wood .I try to bring out the natural beauty and spirit within the wood.Creations are not forced; allowing nature to participate, if not dominate the art.Although I do look for traditional Cherokee themes, the wood ultimately guides the creation.Eventually, the wood will let me know what it wants to be and that is when the journey to bring the dead wood back to life begins.
I was raised in Tulsa Oklahoma, which falls within the crossroads of the Osage, Muscogee Creek, and Cherokee Nations. Living among fellow Native Americans was common and contributed to my strong respect for my Cherokee heritage. Frequent trips to the Gilcrease Museum increased my love and exposure to the arts. As I grew older, I became a collector of Native American Art. As a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation, my personal collection includes many pieces of art from fellow Cherokee artists and Tribes within the Oklahoma territory.
My mother was immersed in the Native American art scene within the Indian Nations, including being an event organizer for the annual Native American art show in Tulsa. She also owned and operated a gallery for regional Native American artists. My aunt was a featured Native American artist at the gallery.Having the ability to meet and engage with artists deeply influenced me. All this exposure to Native American life and arts led me to the road I’m now on.
I consider myself a self-taught artist, as my art education did not prepare me for creating sculptures or working with natural materials, such as wood and rocks.My art background was rounded out by taking college courses in art and art history (I have a Master's Degree from Texas Christian University (TCU) 2000). This was a follow-up to completing several High School courses.At this point, I thought I would be a painter, like my aunt, which I did for many years.Roll forward and I took a different direction, which fused mountain living and my outdoor interest. As a rock hound and collector of interesting woods, I had found my way, or maybe more accurately, the art had found me.
I’m retired from The Department of Defense (DoD).It’s possible that I left a legacy; POGs. I was responsible for the coins substitute program used down range (Iraq and Afghanistan) by the military (2001-2007). This responsibility, allowed me to exercise my artistic side while meeting the business need for coins. You will find images, past and present, celebrating all our military services. The POGs are now highly collectible and many are valued at several 100 times their face value. I transitioned to creating and selling wood sculptures and art in 2019.
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