Ben Pease: The Storyteller
SPOTTED JACK RABBIT—APSAALOOKE
Antique 1887 ledger paper, acrylic, India ink, spray paint, digital painting printed on Platine fibre rag on canvas
48 x 48 x 1.5 inches
THE ARTIST: Ben Pease
KNOWN FOR: Sensitive renderings of historic Native American dignitaries layered with contemporary symbols and images.
CULTURAL AWARENESS: "I grew up on and off the Crow Reservation in Lodge Grass, Montana. I spent a lot of time on the border of the reservation, with a half Native, half non-Native population. You see different types of cultural biases and racism from both sides, and you get to understand some of the subtleties of why people are doing this. It's helped my artwork ask some more complex questions."
EDUCATING THROUGH MY ART: "My work is pure anthropologic emotion. I'm trying to educate, spread awareness. The fuel that pushes my work along is my family, my traditions, and our cultural ties to our place. It's part of who I am. It's more than just creating art; it's sharing I want every child who sees my work to ask questions about it. Sometimes the question is more important than the answer."
ON HISTORY: "I have termed it 'temporal multiplicity'—having an understanding of my people from today back to the historical aspect. I depict tribal dignitaries, leaders and chiefs—telling about who they were or what they did, what they stood for in their time or what they might stand for today. I use spray paint and graffiti to appeal to my own age group. I've been incorporating tribal language into my artwork too. The Crows stress the importance of learning and educating yourself, bringing that back into the tribe and sharing that with some of the older generations and newer generations."
STORYTELLING AND ACTIVISM: "I believe that activism comes hand-in-hand with being a Native American storyteller. The artist's role is to shed some light on specific issues."
NEXT: Working with the Creative Indigenous Collective, an advocacy platform for young Native American artists.
ON DISPLAY: Here is a list of galleries where Pease is represented:
- Stapleton Gallery of Billings, MT
- Creighton Block Gallery of Big Sky, MT
- Modern West Fine Art of Salt Lake City, UT
and soon to be represented by