Tuesday, November 22, 2016
An opportunity arose when I least expected it. I had the honor of being included in the "Savages and Princesses- The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes" exhibition at 108 Contemporary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After a panel discussion at the gallery, I met Artist Mallory Taylor who (following a chat about Murals and Street Art) had informed me that she was not only working on a prime spot in Downtown Tulsa, but was also putting out a call for Artists to submit work for a mural at a unique location at the Port of Catoosa. I was immediately interested, and eventually submitted a painting (which ended up not being chosen.)I ended up submitting a sketch of construction workers as well as a tug boat and a train engine, this design was chosen, with some minor changes. The dimensions for the location gave me the impression of some kind of giant water tower "cube" but upon seeing the structure I knew it would be a fun challenge. These photos are a small part of the documentation of the process and progress made over 4 separate painting sessions that ran roughly 5 to 6 hours, using all Montana Spray Paint. I had to change the design to fit the structure as well as incorporating elements from the other muralists work. It was great to get out and flex the spray can skills, now days I tend to work more on small scale paintings. This was a great project to work on and I hope that the Port Authority likes the new splash of color that has been added to the location. Big ups to fellow Muralist Jeremy Fields, Special shout out to the workers who took time to bring the ladders back and forth, as well as the Port for providing a space for Art, and of course a special thanks goes to Mallory for her dedication to the Arts and for providing us fellow Creative types a place to work. #Murals #Art #PublicArt #Spraypaint #MontanaCans #StreetArt #Walls #HokaSkenandore
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014
I'm trying to get this thing up to speed with my next project, for now here is another article to chew on. Whatever label you choose, “Street Art”, “Public Art”, “Public Action” or “Site Specific Mural”, graffiti is no longer an influence that exists in the margins. Mainstream society has embraced the style of the street from artists like “Kaws” and his ever-present marketing presence (from limited edition toys to Nike billboards) to “Twist”, aka Barry McGee and his fine art installations. Both of these prominent individuals started out painting illegally painting stylized lettering, a fact that follows the history of a new group of up and coming artists. Graffiti Artists/Street artists share a common history which lies in the roots of the founding of Hip-Hop culture, which in turn has its roots in New York City and also in California. Hip –Hop culture is a massive influence and part of understanding it is to view its components. The “Four Elements”- Break Dancing, DJing, Rapping, and finally Graffiti are the cornerstones of a culture that has spread from New York to Copenhagen, to Sao Paolo, to Australia, and even to the heart of the reservation. There is a strong parallel with Hip-Hop culture and that of the Indigenous mind set; both respect the knowledge of elders, dance is a vital force, skills and knowledge are passed from one generation to the next, and there is a strong emphasis on understanding history. Graffiti is by far the oldest of the Four Elements of Hip-Hop, its roots lie in the cave paintings of Lascaux, to the hieroglyphics of Egypt and on to the petroglyphs found across the Americas. One factor that lends motivation to Native Street artists in particular is the conceptual idea that graffiti can be a form of cultural repatriation, by painting the infrastructure of the a country full of “stolen” land one can symbolically reclaim and momentarily redefine claims of ownership of “public” spaces. This conceptual thought process goes further into painting graffiti on trains. Trains were a vehicle of change, bringing death and destruction to the culture of the Indigenous people of the Plains, so to paint trains can transform a symbol of death into a image of beauty. There are far too many artists to cover in one sweep, but some artist of note who are working to create new voices in Contemporary Native Art include Yatika Fields and his graffiti soaked abstractions, B-Boy and muralist WaterMelon 7, silkscreen Maestro SABA, the ceramic portraiture of Rose B. Simpson, graphic designer UNEK, the outspoken works of Ernesto Yerena, as well as the art of street-wandering Jaque Fragua . Each of the aforementioned artists has roots in the world of Graffiti/Street Art. Jaque Fragua in particular has been working with the N8VPA (Native Vapor) team as well as with the American Indian Mural Crew (AIM crew) to create murals across the country with other street artists and local Native youth. With so many young people being connected and tuned in to the innovations of Hip-Hop Culture we are looking at a generation of artists on the rise whose creativity resonates from traditional tribal backgrounds mixed with the sounds of rattling spray cans. This one is circa 2013, first published in Contemporary Native Art Magazine Issue #0.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Time to nock some of the dust off this blog... If you didn't notice/catch or care about Contemporary Native Art Magazine's 1st Issue, here is one of the two articles I did for it, in it's full with bad grammar and other rambles... Enjoy, or vomit. "POST COMMODITY" By Hoka $Kenandore Postcommodity at a glance looks like some kind of buzzword for yet another anti-art movement, but looks are completely deceiving because this is just the beginning of the end. Even though the 2012 end of the world predictions were a bust these guys would have headlined the show. This collective of artists was founded by Steven Yazzie, Kade L. Twist and Nathan Young. The most current incarnation involves the talents of Raven Chacon, Cristobal Martinez as well as Kade Twist and Nathan Young. These individuals on their own have been fantastic forces of change and insight in their respective fields of installation, music, and contemporary art, but when combined we have the Voltron effect perhaps a more fitting phrase would be E. pluribus unum. Each member brings their respective backgrounds together to create a whole that is blazing a path in contemporary art. One Raven Chacon is from my original neck of the woods, “Burque” (or Albuquerque for those who are not familiar with this term for the “505”), he is involved with the independent arts space Small Engine and plays in many bands, not to mention his work as a composer of noise and other assorted gems. Steven Yazzie is a multi-talented painter based in Arizona, he is one of the founding members and worked with P.C. from 2007 to 2010. Kade Twist is making interesting work that re-imagines traditional tribal stories in contemporary contexts such as consumerism, his work runs from film to installation and more. Nathan Young is another multi-talented artist who contributes his knowledge of noise to the efforts as well as Cristobal Martinez, who is a doctoral student at ASU and works with a number of collectives that “…express North American indigenous worldviews and their relationships to place, while also considering the impacts of colonization, imperialism, neo-liberalism, and globalization.” Together they make multi-media works that are very unique, as well as live performances. I was able to attend a performance by James Luna at the Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque a number of years ago and it was pretty funny, he even dissed on my bleached yellow hair. As a point of comparison my experience of seeing Postcommodity perform was quite different, night and day would suffice as good descriptions. Mr. Luna projects a sort of a modern day blues-shaman-storyteller-trickster vibe. Seeing Postcommodity was actually like seeing any number of DIY shows in Albuquerque, that is if you are used to seeing performances of alternative/post-punk/indie/noise bands that play and perform in the various locales of the Burque Metro, I was lucky enough to catch them at an alternative space downtown near the Zoo. Where Mr. Luna brought the laughs, the P.C. boys brought pure manic noise. That night’s line up was Kade Twist, Raven Chacon, and Nathan Young. Mr. Twist was blasting on an elk-call, while the other fellows were scraping deer antlers on some sort of amplified metallic plates. The atmosphere was awesome, the kind that pulls in the emaciated White hipsters with beards, and other assorted odd types. The room had a pretty good crowd and everyone sat and listened to what seemed like a solid half hour of avant-garde music. Afterward one of the guys commented that the local deer population was probably going nuts, and I could picture deer charging up the face of the Sandia Mountains at night in the dark. Afterward Kade handed me a copy of their “Postcommodity + Magor” recording. I took it home and listened to it and read the liner notes, and it became pretty clear to me that what these folks are up to is pretty groundbreaking in many ways.I have always felt the arts of Indigenous people have been a form of cultural resistance to the vast powers of colonialism and imperialist attitudes that expect art to conform to mostly western standards. James Luna has carved out an important area with his performances, his Artifact Piece is amazingly important, but where he has approached the institution from the inside out, Postcommodity has shown they can create within the museum context as well as completely outside and beyond, in this case the Repellent Eye is a great example. Back to the collaboration with Magor aka the late Ivan Martin Jirous, who in his own right is an example of art and artists fighting against the crushing tides of conformity. Postcommodity is a collective of artists that seeks to defy categorization not only of what they do, but also in what they create. This vision has been noticed by art junkies like me and also the Joan Mitchell Foundation which awarded them the 2010 Sculptors and Painters Grant, (this is not an anomaly, just look at their resume!). It seems Postcommodity has taken the two-worlds idea and blown it pieces, taken the chunks and distilled them through and Indigenous worldview filter, there is much that can be taken away from the seeing/hearing this work, but I promise it will leave you thinking. Look for more performances in the New Mexico area. If you get a chance drop in and see the “Spirit Abuse” project space in Santa Fe and for more information visit: www.postcommodity.com.
Friday, June 17, 2011
This is a small selection of my work that is featured in the "Making New Traditions" show that started out at the Heritage Center at the Red Cloud School, then moved to the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota and it will move to Brookings, SD for the final part of its run. The paper piece is a collaborative mixed-media project featuring myself, Marty Two Bulls Jr. and Michael Schwiegman. Special thanks to Mary and Peter for putting this show together and to Mary Maxon for putting up with a pack of psychos at the Dahl. Yep.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I was going to go into an in depth recall of how I got into art. Instead I will start my arbitrary list of the things/people that caught my attention along the way. I was allowed a small amount of television time as a kid and I really enjoyed watching Eek the Cat, Transformers, Garfield, X-men, the Care Bears (Grumpy Bear was my favorite), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bobby's World, Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Terrible Thunder Lizards, Recess (okay, so I was a little old to be watching this one....) and re-runs of the Fintstones, The Jetsons, and even older stuff like Betty Boop.
"Anything Can Happen in Cartoons" - Anthony
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Above photos are details taken from a mural that was painted in 1999 in Albuquerque. I was a part of a project that got local high school students together with working artists to create public art works. At the beginning of the project I was selected to work on a bus stop bench that was covered in tiles, and had a painted back drop (it is still there on Central Ave. and Broadway, and on a side note if you look at the painted sections, we all chose images, and mine of a mustard bottle with wings was selected, as at the time I was a huge Mustard Plug fan....) So as work progressed on the benches, we were asked if we could assist with another of the projects. The mural team ran into a snag, OSHA regulations at the time stated that no one under the age of 16 could go on the scaffolding, so they needed two kids who were old enough to work on the mural. I gladly volunteered to help, and got to work on this project that had already run into some trouble to start. The architect who designed the building, the main library downtown, was upset at the thought of his ugly creation being painted on, so a compromise was met, a frame was installed to attach panels so that no paint would touch the surface. While working on this job, I was fortunate to meet A.G. Joe Stephenson, a master muralist who was originally from Jamaica. In fact one day I was blasting The Skatalites in my headphones, he walked over and asked me if I was listening to Ska, and that was the beginning of our friendship as well as my first mentor in the arts. I went on to work with Joe to do some "filler" for some areas in the mural. A design was submitted and approved with the majority of the main elements in place, so as sort of a side project Joe and I decided to add one addition to the area with the Mayan figure holding the Codex. We took it upon ourselves to create a mini history of Latin America: The first panel (which became the controversy) had an image of a conquistador stabbing an Indigenous person with a cross, the second section was the head of a mayan figure smoking a cigarette (as a symbol of post-contact survival) and finally the last image was of a rabbit holding a deer antler, this last image was taken from another codex it was a symbol of celebration to signify the revitalization of culture for all Native People.... Well, all went well with the project and the mural was completed. No one had noticed the small section until about a month later and people were pissed including the local church down the street as well as the mayor's assistant at the time Phil Baca. He took it upon himself to paint over the offending section himself, thus the first panel is blank and a different color. This event made the local news, and was cited as being defiant of the whole spirit of community and the the theme of the mural which was "Knowledge Is Power"... Joe said that an attorney was willing to take up the case against the city and its censorship, but at the time I was a minor, and my family said I should let it go. The city made the argument that the offending area should be removed because it was not in the original approved design, event though there were other elements in the mural that were added post-approval. The argument made for keeping that small area intact was that if there was something offensive that should be removed it was the image of a homeless man who educated himself by using a public library... I guess the guy was also an outspoken racist, but he got to stay up. I'm certainly not trying to bellyache about what happened, but people in this town are in denial if they think that historical genocide didn't happen. Plus if I don't speak to this moment in Albuquerque history as well as my own personal history who will?.....