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About the Artists

Tony Abeyta
Tony Abeyta was born in 1965 in Gallup, New Mexico. He knew early on in life that he wanted to become an artist, even though his father, respected Navajo painter Narcisso Abeyta, encouraged him to "pursue a more professional career," he says. Tony Abeyta was educated at Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Art, where he received an Associate's Degree in Fine Arts. He also studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, then traveled in France and Italy. Upon his return, he attended the Chicago Art Institute to study painting as a graduate student.

He views his imagery as intercultural; art is his intellectual expression. "I was making a good living in Santa Fe, but I went back to school because I want to strengthen my images -- make them more intellectual in their form." The creative use of textures, particularly sand, colors and themes are all evidenced in his paintings. He normally works "between oils and acrylics," and says that "monotypes are a good medium for me because they're faster, more immediate, less labored." These one-of-a-kind prints are "pure," he continues, "colors are transparent rather than opaque." Color is important to him. His use of turquoise, reds and purples is bold. "The colors are representative of the area I'm from," he says, adding that, though pastels match interiors, they just don't suffice for his work.

Bilson Kee
Bilson Kee was born in Ganado, Arizona in 1963. His mother, Sadie, was a weaver and his father, Thomas, was a silversmith and a sculptor. He was raised in Chinle, Arizona with 4 sisters and 7 brothers who are all artists of some kind. One of his brothers paints and another brother beads and is a silversmith. He now lives in Kirtland, New Mexico is married and has 4 children who show some interest in art.

It was 15 years ago when Bilson started painting Anasazi style sandpaintings. He started by using sand on canvas to produce a unique texture. His designs are three-dimensional and often include a raised pot. He uses coarse sand, because he likes the extra texture.

Bilson also does oil and watercolor paintings, and he started doing pencil drawings. He also took an art class in high school. Bilson was influenced by family art. He gets many of his ideas from travels and his imagination. He obtains his sand from the reservation, riverbeds and washes. Although Bilson does not like to enter competitions, he has done many one-man shows of his work.

Chuck Sabatino
Sabatino was born in 1935 in Bronx, New York. An avid painter by the time he was in high school, and then became interested in advertising. He attended the Cartoon & Illustrator School in New York which later became the School of Visual Arts. For the 25 years that followed, he painted consistently in his free-time while he worked in New York City as an art director and T.V. producer creating countless ads and commercials for companies including American Motors, Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble. Not only did his commercial work during this time earn him 24 awards, it also exposed him to the Southwest through travel where he became very interested in Native American Art and History. Upon retiring in 1988, he and his wife Millie moved to the home they had built in Scottsdale, Arizona where Sabatino turned his full attention to his painting.Sabatino's works are meticulously detailed renditions of his beautifully composed still-lifes in rich warm hues. He paints the pottery of the Zuni, Acoma, Santo Domingo, Cochiti, San Ildefonzo and Santa Clara often arranged alongside beaded moccasins, arrow bags, dresses, flowers, the photos of E. S. Curtis and other paper works. His combinations create a multiplicity in texture and color, and represent a range of visual and historical interests. Sabatino's work has been featured in books and such publications as Southwest Art and Art of the West. His pieces have been displayed at Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art and adorn a growing number of private collections internationally.

Bobby Johnson
Bobby was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in a section referred to as the Bisti Badlands because of its rough terrain. Although he attended boarding school in Toadlena, New Mexico, he graduated from Navajo Methodist Mission in Farmington, NM. He received an art scholarship to the Chicago Art Institute in 1977, but came back to Farmington, because he wasn't ready to be serious about his art. It was only after injuring his back three years later working at a precast company that he considered the possibilities of painting full time.

Bobby felt like his paintings represented the Indian life through his eyes; the reality of changes and the mysticism of Indian religion and beliefs. Although Bobby was brought up in his own Navajo tradition, exposure to the other Native American tribes, especially those from the Southwest, were often subjects of his artistic eye. His intention was not only to paint their traditions of today. It was very important to him to capture the depth and dimension of each object he painted. He wanted each piece to be realistic enough to capture all or part of one's emotions. Because of his love to paint, each piece he painted became a new and exciting challenge.

As a child, Bobby's grandmother shared many traditional folk stories and lifestyles with him. Often as he started a painting he remembered the stories and translated them into his paintings. He felt as though her stories influenced his painting the most.

Previously, Bobby was noted for his paintings of Anasazi pots and potsherds in sand scenes. From sand arroyos to nature's magnificent canyons, to snowy peaks, each piece was an individual creation of art.

Deceased 1989

Herman Tyler
Herman appears to have been an artist all his life. As a child in Sanostee, New Mexico, he drew pencil sketches of cars and trucks on his mom, Roseann's, yarn box. His mom expressed her artistic talent in her rug weaving. As a carpenter, his dad drew and visualized completed jobs. This influenced Herman to capture his Visions of Navajo Culture on paper. While attending high school in Brigham City, Utah, he developed techniques in using oils, acrylics, water colors, and charcoals. He pursued refining his oil paintings after high school. Until he met his wife, Virginia, who is from the Sheep Springs area (where most of the sandpaintings originated because of the availability of the sands) he had never sandpainted. Because of the limitations he felt in traditional Navajo Sandpainting, he decided to apply his oil painting skill to doing sand art, where he felt the possibilities were unlimited. Herman is gaining notoriety and recognition by capturing the quality and detail of Navajo Crafts in Sand.

Born in 1955, he now has three sons to inspire and encourage to become artists.

Navajo sandpaintings were originally done by medicine men on the Hogan floor. Many sandpaintings were done to bring about good things, i.e. rain, health, good crops. Before actually beginning to sandpaint, a lot of preparation is required. The treasured locations of the natural colored sandstone that is ground must be visited. It is then sifted to remove any impurities and to grade the fineness of the sand. Only recently have the Navajo Indians shared their culture and legends by painting on particle board.

Most sandpainters depict traditional symbols and legends with their own detailing, decoration, and coloring. There are hundreds of variations of the symbols used in paintings, each allowing the sandpainter to be an artist. Many sandpaintings are fine works of art because of the outstanding improvements in the artistic quality in the last few years.

James Lee
James Lee (Born 1952) is an artist who is a native of South Korea living in the United States. Lee attended University of North Korea in Seoul for six years before he moved to California, US, in 1981. While in California, he started creating art, posters and prints. At some point Lee moved to Arizona where he became a muralist and sold his artwork through a chain of galleries called "Carol's Art Gallery," named after his wife Carol Kim Lee. He has built a reputation over the years for his great talent and ability to create works that resonate with the environments he lives. Lee has become a name to reckon with in the arts industry, particularly in Los Angeles and New York City where he has been running galleries for the past 10 years. One of Lee's beliefs is that one is born an artist, and he has accordingly used his art to communicate with his audience. He covers topics that resonate well with those who like the turn of the century romantic themes and homes with lush gardens.

The way Lee captures nature in his artwork makes rooms where they are mounted to sparkle with life. From waterfalls to forests, landscapes to traditional settings, Lee delivers it with the eye of a native. Besides selling his artwork through his own gallery, his prints have been sold through other avenues as well. His works are detailed in a manner that gives a clear representation of his subjects. Some art critics have referred to him as a contemporary realist. Lee uses oil paint as his primary medium.

Tom Noble
"My paintings are of an imaginary world, a pre-industrial Arcadia, a time when Northern New Mexico was nothing but rural villages, usually with a church in the center. Life was based on agriculture, and living in harmony with the changing seasons."

Tom Noble, a third generation Taoseno, has been painting professionally for thirty years and has had the opportunity to observe and study with many of the early Taos artists. Their influence shows in his romantic, timeless portrayals of the landscape of northern New Mexico.

Tom lives in the Taos countryside among fields and sheep, cows and crows, ponds and apple orchards, fences and water ditches and nature's moods and mountains. Viewing from his studio window, he paints the sublime pastoral fantasies he sees and lives with daily: a major reflection of the man and his lifestyle. For Noble, memory, atmosphere, weather, and the seasons are all major elements of his compositions. His details are intriguing: the shovel and wheelbarrow recall the difficulties of wresting crops from the land; wells, crosses, coyote fences, hornos (outdoor ovens), and farm animals animate the world of the high mountain villages. Finding that his awareness of color has continued to expand, he includes ever more complex chromatic nuances in rendering these scenes.

Tanya Hogue
Tanya Hogue is the daughter of late artist Bobby Johnson. She was born in 1978 in Shiprock, New Mexico and attended school in Holbrook, Arizona. She was inspired to become a painter by her family and friends. She says, "I want to be as good as my dad was and carry on his work." Hogue's technique is unusual in that she coats the board with gesso and sand, then she paints over that with acrylic. Her well known broken Anasazi pots are the most common subject of their paintings. Most of her ideas come from her father's style and her thoughts of the Anasazi culture. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of her father and become a nationally recognized artist, who may rely on painting as her only source of income. She thanks her family and friends for their inspiration and support of her being an artist. Tanya now resides in the Four Corners area of New Mexico.

Miguel Martinez (1951 - )
With long-time ties to Taos, New Mexico, he is known for modernist oil pastel paintings of women, many of them Hispanic looking, whose faces fill almost the entire canvas. His goal is to reveal their souls and to make them look as though they live and breathe. He was born and raised near the old Taos Plaza to a family that goes back three generations in that area. His father died when he was age three, and his mother raised him and his brothers and sisters.

Carol Grigg
Carol Grigg draws her inspiration from nature and primitive art. She married young and moved to a remote area in southern Oregon where she created a home in a cabin. Grigg had farm animals, and many pets, including a baby crow named Hannibal. She shared her property with bear, mountain lion, deer, poachers and hunters.

In her own words, Grigg says, "I explore a variety of creative forms; watercolor, oil, collage, clay, inks, music and poetry- anything I can easily and quickly get my hands on. I am influenced by primitive art, especially from the earliest cave paintings. The images I bring forth are surrounded by space and create a suspended moment in which one might rest. In this I would wish for the ideas of ecstasy, intuition, love and awareness in nature, healing power and spiritual unity to surface into the consciousness of the observer - participant. It is the Great Mother energy I am expressing." Grigg, who is part Cherokee Indian, certainly has become at peace with the nature around her.

Her posters and lithographs hang in places from Big Sur to the Cairo Hilton. Her work has been featured at Art Expo in New York and is sold in Scottsdale through Joan Cawley Gallery Ltd. "For me the whole idea of being here on the physical earth is to succeed and give at the same time. Many of us have the means to make a difference."

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