Autumn Borts-Medlock is a clay and bronze artist of Santa Clara Pueblo. Drawing from the spiritual symbolism and nature-oriented design aesthetics of native culture, Autumn is tied to a long line of potters from generations past. She was first introduced to the art form as a child, making her first formal attempts at claywork under the guidance of her mother and grandmother. These lessons during her early years solidified Autumn's own connection to the clay, and gave her the skills she needed to move into coil work. Pottery ties Autumn both to an ancient tradition and her ancestors. "Knowing that a thousand grandmothers did this before me is amazing... to have been born into this is a gift," says Autumn.
Autumn’s intricately designed parrot effigies are inspired by a fascination that was sparked as a young girl. Growing up on the reservation, she admired the colorful, bird-like features found on many of the regalia worn by the people of Santa Clara Pueblo. This intrigued Autumn, who became curious about the meaning and importance of parrots to the pueblo. What she eventually discovered was that the birds were traded at Chaco Canyon by indigenous peoples from Mexico and South America. The feathers of the birds hold significance because they are colorful like the rainbow and represent prosperity. Autumn fell in love with the form of parrots and the fascinating history of the trade routes. She has won many awards including several from SWAIA and had a parrot featured at the Smithsonian Museum.
HEIDI k BRANDOW
Heidi K. Brandow is a multi-disciplinary artist who primarily focuses on creating mixed media works. Her pieces are commonly filled with whimsical characters and monsters that are often combined with words of poetry, stories, and personal reflections.
Heidi hails from a long line of Native Hawaiian singers, musicians and performers on her mother’s side and Diné storytellers and medicine people on her father’s side. With such a rich and diverse native background, she has found that her pursuit of a career in the arts was a natural progression.
Inspiration by everyday life, Heidi's work concerns discovering, defining, and constantly redefining personal identity by questioning authority and deconstructing mainstream assumptions of Native Americans. Her work engages personal, cultural, and historical experiences while incorporating perspectives of critical theory.
Heidi is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and studied design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Istanbul Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Althea Cajero of Santo Domingo and Acoma Pueblos uses sterling silver, 14K gold, and 18K gold in her jewelry and also integrates natural materials including turquoise, coral, pearls, jaspers, and agates. Althea is fascinated with the beautiful texture of cuttlefish bone castings, which she incorporates into a majority of her designs through the use of hand fabrication.
Her mother, Dorothy Tortalita, was a full-time silversmith and her father, Tony Tortalita, was a lapidary jeweler, and is now a tribal leader of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Her parents made their living creating art and selling their work under the Governor’s Palace in Santa Fe and at art shows. Her appreciation for art came from consistently being immersed by it while growing up. She always knew that art would be a part of her life, but did not really know whether it would be through collecting, selling, or creating it.
Althea grew up in Santo Domingo Pueblo and graduated from St. Catherine’s High School in Santa Fe, NM. After attending the University of New Mexico she was hired by the Indian Health Service, where she worked for almost 20 years. In 2005, she married bronze and clay sculptor Joe Cajero Jr. from Jemez Pueblo. It was being in his creative space that inspired her to think about her own creative capabilities.
In 2013, Althea and Joe Cajero were named Living Treasures by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture which is a great honor for any artist, but especially poignant for a husband and wife. Althea has been juried into several notable art shows and is represented by several respected galleries. She continues to improve her skills as a jeweler through continued education, learning from other artists, and listening to her intuition.
Joe Cajero, Jr. of Jemez Pueblo is a renowned bronze and clay sculptor who has been creating clay originals and limited edition bronze sculptures for more than 17 years now.
Joe enjoys working with commercial clay and traditional Jemez clays, as well as the process of selecting the patinas (colors), which are used in the finish of bronze sculptures. This has led to the opening of new creative doors for the artist. He believes that developing his skills in clay have led him to work in bronze, and that working with bronze has enhanced his skills with natural clay. Joe is also creating a line of jewelry castings inspired by images taken from his bronze sculptures. He is excited about the creative possibilities that each medium has to offer.
Joe was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and raised in the Pueblo of Jemez. He is a descendant of a long line of Pueblo artists, including his father, a painter, and his mother, a potter. As a child, Joe would often accompany his mother to Indian art shows throughout the Southwest and was challenged to try a creative form he never guessed he’d be known for today: clay and bronze sculpture.
Joe has won many prestigious awards over the years, including being named Living Treasures by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture with his wife Althea Cajero, an accomplished jeweler. This is a great honor for any artist, but especially poignant for a husband and wife. Joe sees his creative energy as spiritual in nature and states that each of his sculptures invariably represents some aspect of praise and appreciation for life’s beauty.
Karen Clarkson is a Choctaw artist who embraces her rich heritage through an abundance of mediums. As a self taught artist she has created drawings, paintings, mixed media designs, ledgers, and much more with her adept talents. Although many of Karen’s works are based on Native Americans, she also creates landscapes and still life as well as portraits in other mediums.
A unique style of work Karen creates are her Choctaw ledgers, which tell the story of her people during formidable times. The ledgers illustrate the history and effects of the government on the Choctaw. Karen’s series entitled A Choctaw Story of Land and Blood, feature the documents of her own ancestors including photographs, birth certificates, land allotments, and more. She takes these documents and paints images on top of them in order to tell a story of some of the disastrous consequences from these times. This uncommon medium captures the pain and suffering in a captivating way while creating a new way of viewing the past.
Karen is particularly drawn to the human form in all its strength and beauty. She recalls some of her earliest childhood memories drawing different people. Being self taught has encouraged Karen to experiment, although she does continue to return to the human form.
Tammy Garcia is a Santa Clara Pueblo sculptor and ceramic artist who translates Pueblo pottery forms and iconography into sculptures in bronze and other media. While remaining deeply connected to her roots, she has moved far beyond the pueblo and its traditions into a creative territory that is completely unique. Her work embodies both classic design and modern iconography.
Her distinctive forms and imagery create “stories” on her vessels. The imagery is inspired by pueblo life with motifs including elements of nature, bird abstractions, and bands of repeating feathers, at once recognizable yet composed in manners that defy conventions. The surface of her vessels are fully carved and there is always an amazing balance of carved and matte areas. Pushing beyond the limits of natural clay, Tammy also forges new and exciting paths in bronze and glass. This type of work marks a distinct change of direction within the larger contemporary Native American sculpture arena. Tammy enjoys working with bronze because it gives her a sense of freedom to experiment and create on a larger medium than pottery.
Her works are found across the country in the prestigious collections of the Heard Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Autry National Center, the Rockwell Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the National Museum of the American Indian. In her home state of New Mexico, you’ll see pieces by Tammy on display in the Albuquerque airport and in the Capitol Art Collection in Santa Fe. In 2008, she won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Tammy learned to make pottery from her mother and continues the Pueblo traditions of using native clay as the foundation for her pottery. She is a daughter of Linda Cain, sister of Autumn Borts-Medlock, granddaughter of Mary Cain and great-granddaughter of Christina Naranjo and great-great granddaughter of Sara Fina Tafoya. Tammy’s courageous artistic journey in mastering a variety of mediums is unparalleled in innovation, imaginative design, and flawless execution.
Gregory Lomayesva is an internationally recognized painter, sculptor and mixed-media artist who lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He draws imagery and ideas from his Hopi and Hispanic heritage and American popular culture.
The contrasts of his mixed cultural upbringing led him to his keen observational style and ability to comment with razor-sharp precision on those elements in our world that most make us what and who we are. His artistic vision has roots in Pop Art and is expressed in the bold palette and motifs of his paintings and wood carvings. Gregory draws from the iconic period in American art when his idols Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Warhol and Pollock redefined how culture could be captured on canvas or in form. This paved the way for his generation to define further our blended cultural reality. Gregory believes it gives him permission to appropriate in their footsteps not only more familiar American iconography but the Hispanic and Hopi iconography that equally informed his particular worldview.
Today, Gregory boasts a body of work that includes thousands of canvasses, woodcraft artifacts, and other ephemera, a collector-base that stretches from the US, Europe, and Asia, and representation in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, and Santa Fe. He has a keenly evolving aesthetic sensibility that combines abstract imagery with razor-sharp observations that are at the cutting edge of American contemporary fine art.
Michelle Lowden hails from the Pueblo of Acoma and currently resides on the reservation. She specializes in hand-painted Pueblo jewelry that captures the essence of Pueblo design through a different medium. She designs earrings, pendants, blankets, prints, and more that put a colorful, modern spin on traditional native schemes.
Michelle’s inspiration to reconnect traditional designs through a contemporary medium began with observing her father’s sculptures as well as studying her family’s history of illustrious potters. For the past six years, Michelle has been creating jewelry with the skills she’s developed and the inspiration of her family and native background.
Michelle is the proud founder and owner of Milo Creations, a brand that specializes in hand-painted Pueblo jewelry and also carries some of her other creations. Besides running a successful business, Michelle has also been involved in other inspiring projects. She was the first arts entrepreneur to participate in Eighth Generation’s “Inspired Natives Project” and also was selected for the Rising Arts Fellowship, which resulted in her creating a large scale installation at Nativo Lodge.
Ira Lujan of Taos/Onkay Owingeh Pueblo incorporates native themes and influences along with ancient techniques to form his glass blown creations. By incorporating everyday Pueblo utilitarian objects and scenes in contemporary Native America, Ira finds freedom of expression through his manipulation of the hot and malleable glass. Although this is a relatively new media to Pueblo people, he is determined to provide contemporary interpretations of traditionally based themes through his chosen medium of glass sculpture.
Ira was first introduced to glass blowing in the summer of 2000 in Taos, NM where he apprenticed with foremost glass artist Tony Jojola of Isleta Pueblo, who brought forth the possibilities of incorporating native themes. Lujan also studied under native glass artist Preston Singletary of Tlingit tribe at Pilchuch Glass School.
Upon receiving the 2007 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Fellowship award, Ira designed and built a mobile glass blowing unit, which he wants to transport to different locations throughout the United States to promote both the art of glass sculpture and his personal style of art. Ira is fascinated by the movement of hot glass and the way it captures light, and is excited to be creating Native American Art with this new medium.
Rhett Lynch is a diversely talented artist who has found expression across a wide variety of mediums. Although varying greatly in medium and subject matter, all of Rhett's work contains a common thread: intensity of color interwoven with multifaceted intent.
In his over forty years working as a professional artist, Rhett has created hand-woven tapestries, sculpture, drawings, monotypes, and paintings in oil and acrylic, as well as writing and acting in films. Always seeking to expand his visual vocabulary, Rhett consistently experiments with various materials in order to bring more power, life, and intensity to his art.
Rhett's broad range of subject matter: the human form, animals, landscapes, icons, archetypes, myth and legend, are depicted realistically to pure abstract, whimsical to mystical. Rhett refers to his work as a visual journal, recording his experiences as a tourist of life. His work is a testament to the deeply powerful symbols found in the well of his Indigenous heritage. Viewing Rhett's works provides an interactive experience provoking thought, evoking emotion, and leaving a lasting imprint on the psyche.
Rhett's work, which has appreciated consistently in value over three decades, attracts a broad range of collectors, veteran as well as neophyte, from entertainment and political personalities, to church parishes and corporations such as CNN.
Rochelle Jewel Medlock (b. 2005) is a bronze and clay sculptor from Taos, New Mexico. The youngest in a lineage of Tewa potters whose artistic legacy reaches back more than seven generations, she is quickly achieving a notability of her own with original, award-winning works.Designed, clay-sculpted, and finished by her own hand, Rochelle’s foundry-cast bronze miniatures evoke a sense of delight and lightheartedness, and reveal something of the artist’s strong affinity for animals. This is most evident in her Wee Dogs series, an open edition composed of a trinity of tiny, playfully poised dogs.
In 2014, Rochelle began participating in the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market, where her entry for judging, a small clay sculpture titled Snail Family Travels to Mt. Everest, received a ribbon in the youth category. New, soon-to-be-cast work includes two editions inspired by Rochelle’s love of film and literature: Winn Dixie, based on the lovable if mischievous companion of a lonely, new-in-town young girl in the 2005 movie, Because of Winn Dixie; and a lamentation of swans swimming among the plump cattails and tall, slender reeds in the artist’s interpretation of The Trumpet and the Swan’s lively summer marshes.
Collectors and casual admires alike certainly have much more to look forward to as Rochelle continues the tradition of creativity that began with her Pueblo ancestors so long ago. Through each of her creations, the ancient artistic legacy of the Tewa people lives on, while the voice of her own generation comes through loud and clear. Rochelle is currently a sixth-grade student at Taos Integrated School of the Arts (TISA), where her curriculum includes drama, dance, and music. Her work is represented by Gallery Chaco, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Faust Gallery, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Abraham Mojica is an international artist who creates his pieces using multiple materials and mediums to produce jewelry, accessories, handmade doors, furniture, ceramics, sculpture, paintings and drawings.
Abraham’s work is greatly informed by the adventurous twists and turns he has experienced since leaving Guadalajara, Mexico at age 19. Using boldly gestural brush strokes, he unabashedly delights in creating striking canvases where figurative subjects, often negotiating a visual language of shape and color, evoke distant memories and dreams.
A variety of unique life experiences have inspired Abraham’s art including playing in bands, instructing karate, and spending a few years with a traveling circus. This instilled in him a passion for discovering new horizons, which in time developed into deep artistic talent. His artist's eye, a natural sense of form and balance, and unique voice give every piece a soul all its own.
Abraham typically uses the unique method of using both hands at once to paint his pieces. The artist is based out of San Antonio, Texas but has works available internationally in countries including Japan, Germany, Belgium, France, Australia, Canada, and Argentina.
Mateo Romero is a contemporary Pueblo painter with roots connecting to the Southern Keresan Cochiti people.
Mateo’s paintings reflect a pattern of evolution and change. The images are powerful and imposing, juxtaposed with swirling gestural paint marks and drips. Timeless, archaic elements of Pueblo culture are juxtaposed with contemporary abstract expressionist palette knife and brush work. Overall, the paintings develop a rhythmic, hypnotic, trancelike feeling which is referential to the metaphysical space of the Pueblo and the dance itself.
Mateo was born and raised in Berkeley, California. Although his cultural background is an urban one, it is through his father Santiago Romero that he is connected to their Southern Keresan Cochiti people. This experience includes much of the Rio Grande Pueblo world as well. Mateo attended Dartmouth College and studied with acclaimed artists Ben Frank Moss and Varujan Boghosian.
Mateo received an MFA in printmaking from the University of New Mexico and is now an award-winning artist who has exhibited internationally in Canada and in the United States. He is currently a Dubin Fellow in painting at the School of American Research in Santa Fe, NM, and paints in his studio also located in Santa Fe.
Gabriel Sice is a third generation fetish carver from Zuni Pueblo. The primary mediums for his carvings are deer and elk antler but he also works with Belgium marble, Picasso marble, serpentine, mother of pearl shell, and lapis. Gabriel is known for his carvings of bears, badgers, frogs, parrots, and pueblo maidens. He often inlays these pieces with Sleeping Beauty turquoise and Mediterranean coral.
Gabriel began carving in July of 1992 and has been working on his craft ever since. In 2017 he began carving larger sculptures in edition to the small fetishes he’s known for. These larger sculptures are made out of stones including Virginia steatite, honeycomb calcite, and various Utah alabasters. Gabriel participates in many art markets throughout the Southwest and has won various awards over the past sixteen years. The carver continues to learn new and exciting skills through a variety of stone mediums.
Penny Singer is a Diné clothing designer who has created a collection of unique handmade clothing and accessories that embraces the Native American Spirit. Penny feels that every time she is designing a new piece, she is reconnecting to her Native Diné roots.
She sees the fabric that she uses as a canvas, the thread as her color palette, and the sewing machine and needle as her brush. Originally trained as a photographer and videographer, she now incorporates photographs to tell stories through her wearable art. Working mostly at Indian markets and craft shows, she has slowly earned significant recognition and a loyal following.
Penny grew up an “Urban Indian” away from the reservation. It wasn’t until college that she discovered a broader perspective of what it means to be Native American, and gained a view into traditional Native Ways. While at Institute of American Indian Arts, she began selling her signature ribbon shirts at Indian markets. She has since expanded to men’s and women’s shirts, jackets, vests, capes, and accessories.
Since then, she has spent time on the reservation and travels to TecNosPos, Arizona. When she is there Penny feels enveloped in her culture and able to take in new experiences each time. These new experiences then become woven into her work. Penny uses traditional Native designs and sees each pieces as a reflection of her- free, unapologetic, and just plain real.
Roxanne Swentzell is a clay sculptor from the Santa Clara Pueblo whose work is in high demand. She uses clay to create full-length figures that represent the complete spectrum of the human spirit. Her figures represent a full range of emotions and irrepressible moods.
Roxanne feels that many people are out of touch with their environment and hopes relating to her expressive characters will help them get back in touch with their surroundings and feelings. She tends to focus a lot on interpretative female portraits attempting to bring back the balance of power between the male and female, inherently recognized in her own culture. Additionally, she increasingly uses a powerful sense of humor to communicate.
Like in classic Pueblo pottery, Roxanne crafts her figures from clay that she squeezes into thick coils and joins together to build the walls of her figure. During the process of coiling, she keeps the clay moist and uses a knife or stone to smooth over the ridges of the coils. While the figures are hollow, the toes and fingers of each figure is solid. She leaves vacant space at the core of her figures in order to reduce the chance the figure will explode in the burner while baking. The final figure Roxanne produces is often painted and can include painted details of eyes, hair or clothing on the figure.
Her work is in such high demand that people line up by the dozens at her booth at shows like Santa Fe Indian Market. Though steeped in her own culture, Roxanne’s work demonstrates an astounding universality, speaking to people of all cultures.
Felix Vigil is a classically trained fine artist whose contemporary vision is influenced and guided by the spirits of his Jicarilla Apache and Hemez ancestors. His body of work includes painting, sculpture, film animation, architecture, and literature. Ideas for his work come out of the ceremonies, songs, and stories of his people. It is inspired by ideas that are very old, but those concepts are still very relevant today. Felix considers his work contemporary meditations on ancient themes that depict traditional symbols in their essential forms and bring them to life with saturated colors and stylized representations of animals and geographic features of the land.
Since early childhood Felix was surrounded by art. His father, Francis Paul Vigil was a prominent self-taught artist who set the course for Felix’s artistic endeavors. After his father’s passing he began the process of following his own dreams of becoming an artist. In 1980 he graduated with honors from the world renowned Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland with a BFA in painting.
Felix has gained national recognition and won numerous awards including a permanent display at the National Museum Of The American Indian, Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Felix has works located across the country, along with pieces in private homes both nationally and internationally.
Adrian Wall is a renowned sculptor from Jemez Pueblo. While his primary medium is stone, he works with many materials, including clay, bronze, and glass.
Adrian’s work can be found in museums and private collections across the United States. The subjects of Adrian’s sculptures most often relate to his Puebloan heritage. Stylistically, he is well known for blending figurative detail with abstract forms. Adrian’s most recent sculptural explorations involve interpreting pueblo pottery designs and symbols in three-dimensional forms.
Adrian is interested in combining materials to create sculptures that reflect his aesthetics. He sees his work as a reflection of his existence as an aboriginal person experiencing the world in the Twenty-First Century. Adrian has a background in art that is grounded in the Native American Arts Movement which started in Santa Fe, NM in the Mid-Sixties. He has spent the majority of his career making art for collectors of native art. Through his educational pursuits, he has reinvigorated his approach to art including conceptual sculpture that brings light to issues that center around identity, inter-human relationships, and the environment, which manifest themselves in his sculpture.
Adrian has won several major awards and is a member of the Indigenous Sculptors Society, an elite group of Native American Sculptors dedicated to the advancement of stone sculpture. He is currently pursuing a BFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.