Internationally-renowned Sandy Swallow’s artistic passion began in mid-life, as she experimented with oils and watercolors while living on a ranch in South Dakota. Virtually self-taught, Sandy longed to create art capturing her spiritual connection to nature, home, and family. Sandy discovered the painstaking medium of hand-pulled block printmaking, providing her with the ability to create dramatic pieces saturated with deep earth and pastel colors which evoke traditional Native American symbols and images from the natural world. An enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, Sandy’s fascinating life history enriches her artistic vision. Sandy has always felt an intense spiritual connection to the Black Hills. Her great-grandfather was present at the historic signing of the 1868 Treaty at Fort Laramie and her great-grandmothers came into Ft. Robinson with Crazy Horse in May 1877.
John Three Fingers
Lame Deer, MT
I have been producing art for 6 years. I started with Walking/Hiking staffs and canes to full figure wood sculptures, inlaid wood sculptures. I am working with epoxy resin paintings, inlaid signs, stools/end tables. I retired from the Northern Cheyenne Indian Health Service after 20+ years of work history and also due to becoming legally blind. I have always had the ability to produce art but never had the opportunity to create full time until now.
My artwork and inspiration comes from my culture, my family, and many times the grain of the wood reveals a figure that is then sculpted out. I make what my customer base will purchase but would like to reach a larger audience to sell larger pieces. I am in contact with established artists who have agreed to help me with the ins and outs of starting a small business.
I believe I will make a great contribution to your program because I am serious about my wish to become a viable business on the reservation, and create a platform to help other artists realize their dreams of a better economy and a better future for their children. Thank you for your consideration and time in this matter. I think this program has the potential to create a new path of prosperity for the communities on the various native reservations.
Olivia “Rose” Williamson
Crow Agency, MT
I am an Apsoalooke Artist who loves beading flowers, occasionally I bead crow designs. I get my inspiration from the older generation artists of my tribe.
Crow Agency, MT
I am very active in the artist community, I love to promote and encourage Native artists and entrepreneurs at being the best they can possibly be. I organize and provide venues for our local artists. It is very invigorating to be able to inspire my fellow peers and continue to support our native community.
I started making dolls after an oil refinery accident. I had lost control of some hand functions and used sewing, beading and painting for rehab. The first couple of years were developing a style and shape but finally I began to enjoy the creating. As an artist a day comes when someone says ,”you could sell these things”. There is a sharp curve between sell-able art and art. But things began to sell and pay off some bills. the next step was to begin to do Native Craft shows with my parents, who sold original bead work. The problem in those days for doll makers was you could not copy others designs. That meant I could not go to a museum and replicate anything I saw. So, I had to come up with my own designs. It was fun because I was not limited with fabric, beads or colors.
With my parents, I did shows coast to coast, vendors were friendly and if one artist did well they tended to buy from those doing slow sales. But then my parents got old and shows were not as fun.
Art has to express the artist to really flow. Circles become smudges that express the spirit of the piece. So is the art of doll making. Doll making is not just sewing fabric and filling it with something and yet that is exactly what it is. I make the dolls for the exercise for my hands but these days I just enjoy making them. For selling them… the future will unfold
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa
I am a life-long Montanan widely traveled throughout North America and, most recently, to Ireland and Scotland. Generally found in the outdoors: nature, travels, culture, and upbringing nurture the imagination inspiring my art. Exploring and discovering my tribal heritage over the past decade, its influence has always, somehow, been revealed within my basketry and paintings. Along with regional exhibitions, I have been fortunate to collaborate with First People’s Fund along with Montana’s Indian Equity Fund while also benefiting from a Smithsonian internship – researching basketry and the Little Shell People.
I create original hand-woven baskets and acrylic on canvas paintings. From the paintings, other products include prints, greeting cards and coffee cups; still other pieces include etched, hand-painted gourds and antlered gourd rattles. With exception of the prints, all designs and artwork are unique therefore production is limited.
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Kimberly Woyak is a freelance photographer who loves an array of subjects. Her real-world experiences helped develop her skills as a photographer. There is no cookie cutter journey on putting into words her career pathway for photography. Kimberly is a self-taught photographer whose primary focus has been on nature with its simplicities yet mysterious complexities. Her eye for composition, natural light, empowered by her passion enables her to create extraordinary images of ordinary common subjects. Kimberly has a skilled professional eye that is able to interpret an event or subject through illustration in her photographs. Kimberly’s work has been featured in an exhibit called; The Story of the Creative July 24, 2013 at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York. Kimberly’s work has also been featured in a Wisconsin Nonprofit Newsletter Nijii Enterprises and The Wisconsin Division of Woodlands Tribal Artists Association. On July 24, 2014, Kimberly has had her work featured in New York City in Times Square on two of the largest video billboards as a see.me creator. You can view her art gallery at Kimberly Woyak Photography on Facebook, see.me, Capture Wisconsin, Pinterest, as well as Viewbug. Kimberly is a featured photographer for Restoring the Circle Magazine. She is a also a curator for Viewbug. Kimberly’s work has also been featured in Native Hoop Magazine March 2019 and August 2020. Kimberly was also a member of AVA in Antigo, WI in 2018. She enjoys sharing art from other Native American Artists on her Woodlands Tribal Artistry FB Page. She is the Owner of Savers Food Mart LLC in Antigo WI. Kimberly is from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and resides in Antigo, WI with her husband, Thomas, and her two children Myles, and Kayla.
Rabbit Knows Gun
Rabbit Knows Gun, a Crow Artist, has been painting for over 30 years, in various mediums including, but not limited to acrylic, oils, oil pastels, watercolor and pens, pencils, collages, and with traditional paints on parfleches, hides and drums. He has also worked in ledger art originals, utilizing journal paper which is more than 100 years old. He has made drums and other native art items.
Rabbit graduated form Rocky Mountain College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree and has also conducted workshops to help people learn how to paint in acrylics and ledger art workshops as well. Rabbit has painted over 425 original paintings and has written a manuscript with another author concerning his exploits in the arts. His wife and children, including grandchildren, reside in the Southeast central part of Montana. Rabbit enjoys meeting people and discussing historical and contemporary fine arts.
Rabbit has received numerous awards in various capacities, including the arts, but still considers himself a student of life.