As a child on the Navajo Reservation I was encouraged to accept the validity of my dreams and visions. As an artist, I continue to draw upon that dream reality; it is the wellspring of my creativity.
I began my art career exploring Native American legends that were familiar to me, using my own visions of the mythological figures instead of portraying them in the more traditional way. I prefer to explore the concepts behind the tradition from different perspectives, developing my own images.
My mind wanders through a pool of universal concepts until I sense an attraction or affinity that manifests within my consciousness as an idea, a concept. Then I begin the process of translating the concept into visual symbols. There is a sense of total involvement and interconnectedness with all aspects of creativity. I flow with the creative spirit, allowing it to affect me at all levels.
As an artist with strong Native American roots, I have been deeply interested in understanding altered states of consciousness as they relate to the role of the artist/shaman. My Navajo tribe does not have a shamanic heritage. The experiences I had with shamans from other tribes taught me to alter my consciousness. While I am involved in the creative process, these altered states allow a free flow of images.
When people ask me what my best painting is I tell them it's the one that I'm working on, or the one I’ll do next. I refuse to look to the past or get hung up on paintings that I've completed.
In some ways I do not like to tell you what a painting means. You may see something in the painting that I haven't. Your interpretation and the significance you give to the painting is what matters.
A New Metaphor
With the symbol paintings, I go beyond a particular belief system to a more abstract thought form reality using free calligraphic and symbolic interpretation. I erase all of the known symbols and start constructing a new alphabet, a new symbol system that is not familiar or traditional. It is exciting to me because I've learned a new language and I enjoy using it.
I am expanding the myth beyond the limitations of known semantics, touching upon the universal myths that never die but constantly change and evolve, so they're ancient and new at the same time. The images are mysterious as to their exact origin; they speak to each viewer of their links to the past, and to our ancestors.
Sometimes there are recognizable designs, such as serpents and scarabs, but the thought forms and the calligraphy seem to stand on their own. The identifiable symbols are links to this reality. The calligraphy expresses a concept one way and the familiar images add to it.
This art is a mysterious language that may evoke ancient memories within the viewer. Some people resonate to the paintings without knowing why and they don't want to know why. They enjoy experiencing the symbols and what they awaken in themselves as they respond to the art on an intuitive level. The symbols may help us to step out of the restrictions we have placed upon ourselves.
We need to move on to a new myth. The old stories are losing their relevance.
We're taking quantum leaps and our paradigms are shifting rapidly.