Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heard @ The Heard 2010: Uncle Paulie Hits the Road to Phoenix for Native Art

When my friend and award-winning Jemez Pueblo potter Kathleen Wall insisted I head out to the Heard Museum's Indian Fair and Market this past weekend, how could I say no?  She even made arrangements for me to stay on the Gila River Pima reservation at her mother, Fannie Loretto's  house. Loretto is a Jemez and Laguna mask artist . 

That was a thrill because I had the opportunity to see the wonder and the stress of getting ready for market.  As most artists do, Loretto and Wall were putting the final touches on their pieces in preparation for Saturday and Sunday well into the wee hours of the night after Friday's preview party and auction at the Heard.  I got to stay up with them to help and admire their dedication and craftsmanship.

Of course the preview party was fun because I got to hang out with some of my favorite people Jody Naranjo of Santa Clara Pueblo, Glendora Fragua from Jemez, Navajo clothing designer Penny Singer, Kathleen, and my roadtrip companion Taos potter Suann Davin.   Suann and I traveled all the way to Phoenix from Albuquerque together, and I was amazed when I finally saw her unique, contemporary, geometrically-exciting micaceous pottery on Saturday morning.  The show seemed well-attended, and with over 700 of the finest Native artists selling their work, it was a huge learning opportunity offering one of the best times I have ever had, both visually and culturally.

Last August, I attended SWAIA's Indian Market and didn't know a soul.  This time around, I saw so many people I knew, it was like all of New Mexico was in Phoenix!  I really enjoyed spending time getting to know Santo Domingo cartoonist Ricardo Cate, Thomas Tenorio, Colin Coonsis, Peter Boome, as well as making other new friends like Pilar Agoyo, Phillip John Charette and Ed Archie Noisecat.  I finally got to meet Chris Pappan, Nocona Burgess as well as Mateo Romero.  I even got to hang for a bit with my friends, award-winning Navajo painter Sheldon Harvey and Marian Denipah and Steve LaRance.  In spite of the rain and the three snowstorms I had to drive through to get back to Albuquerque, it was completely worth it.

The best part of all was that many of the fine artists in attendance took the time to talk to me about their lives, their art and inspirations.  This week I begin a video interview series entitled "Heard @ The Heard 2010".  I hope you will join me for these special portraits of artists who are making their unique marks in the world of Native American arts. 

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