1991 to Present
Modern Fetish Carving
FIRST YEAR MAKING ART:
How did you get involved with carvings?
In 1987 I began helping a Jemez carver by the name of Marvin Toya with his work. He did lots of shows and I worked with him to help him get ready.
Was it difficult to learn?
I was working in a welding shop at the time, so I would work with cutting small things and working with my hands. It was a very natural transition for me.
How did you get out on your own?
I had made a 3 pieces of my own and gave them to Marvin. He said he would take him to his next show, they all sold. The next show I made 12 pieces for him to take. When he returned he gave me the money for selling all 12 carvings and told me to go get my own tools.
Was your first style similar to the work you do today?
Yes, the thing that has changed overtime is the facial features of my pieces. They are more life like, so my work has evolved over the years.
So what happened after you went out on your own?
I was living in Flagstaff, AZ and made pieces for a gallery in Sedona. I still sell pieces today to that gallery. After I made that contact in Sedona I just worked hard to find other galleries.
When did you start selling in Gallup?
In the early 1990s I stopped at a few places in Gallup, but I did not pick up any business. It didn’t really take off for me until I did a show in 1992 called Enduring Tradition. After that show people began to recognize my work and it became much easier to sell my work. Today I live close to Gallup and sell most of my work there.
What shows do you do?
I have been doing the Heard show for the last 10 years, did the Indian Market, and have very good success at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial.
How many hours do you work on sculptors and carvings in a week?
More than your traditional 40-hour job. You begin working on a big piece and you feel it and it feels you, you can’t stop after that. Than you get more ideas while you are working and begin another project. It is not uncommon for me to work 14 hour days most of the week.
Do you carve from an idea or image in your mind?
I do a lot of meditation, when something comes to me many times I will draw it on a piece of paper. Sort of a little blue print to my work.
Where do you see your work going?
I would like to get more involved in metal sculptors, like warrior shields and other pieces with a flowing movement.