Thursday, March 18, 2010

Modern Artist Spotlight - Marwin Begaye

Marwin Begaye is a critically acclaimed Navajo artist, currently living in Oklahoma. He teaches at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University. His passion is educating Native Americans and non-Native Americans alike on the dangers of the modern diet, particularly diabetes. His prints are full of pop-icon, corporate brands, and macabre imagery, all meant to drive home visually what we are doing to ourselves in regards to our dependence on over-processed foods.

On a more personal note, he's the guy who taught me lithography. And I can assure you that he's a real character, as the pictures in this blog post of another print artist will attest to. He teases people a lot. Especially painting students for not being careful enough with their images. You'd never know by listening to his teases that his first accolades were for his works as a painter. He often uses humor to get his point across. As long as you don't take any of it personally, you'll have a great time learning from him, because he really does want to make his students the best printmakers they can be. He also requires his students to personally relate to their own art, to actually create things representative of them. He's the reason that my American Mutt series focused on all of my ancestry, instead of just a juxaposition of Lenape and Pennsylvania Dutch images.

He doesn't really have a website gallery, so here's a slideshow of images from Flicker of his works, taken by other people. In the center of the show is a hummingbird print that I actually have on a t-shirt, from his class. Of course, having not been worn regularly, the print in the slideshow looks a lot crisper than my beloved t-shirt.

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