“There is a trap [in decolonization] that hinders a lot of potential growth. And that is centered in how we think about things. If you are only trained [to deconstruct] then you are stuck in a gear of deconstruction, which is important and useful. But if the goal is to increase capacity in Indian Country, then you are asking for builders, not destroyers, and that is a completely different type of thinking.” Ryan Red Corn
Ryan Red Corn
Ryan Red Corn
Ryan Red Corn (Osage) created the design firm Buffalo Nickel Creative and is also a member of the 1491s. He joined NextGen Native for a wide-ranging conversation.
Although we touched on comedy and had some light hearted moments, our conversation covered much more beyond comedy. We talked about the role his work and the work of others in graphic design and branding can play a role in Indian Country telling its stories better. We discussed how being creative and artistic is closely related to being an entrepreneur. Ryan shared how he uses different media to tell stories and how each is suited to have a certain impact. I dug into Ryan’s intentionality and how he uses it to manage his time and drive his art.
Jared Yazzie with his “Native Americans Discovered Columbus” design, was recently in the news.
Jared Yazzie is the founder of OXDX Clothing Company. He joined NextGen Native once again to catch up on his recent projects. Jared’s clothing has been a hot commodity for a few years, but recently his business is taking some major strides.
The first time John Pepion (Piikani) appeared on NextGen Native, I titled the accompanying blog post “Up and Coming Ledger Artist.” About 1.5 years later John returned to catch up, and from our conversation, the title was accurate! John’s on the move, and if you’re not familiar with his work, you should check it out.
We discussed how he has grown as an artist and businessperson recently. He mentioned he started growing even more when he opened himself up to learn and take feedback from others. This mindset can be applied to any job or activity. It can be hard to open yourself up to feedback, but it empowers you in a way that few other things can.
As John opened himself up to feedback, he started engaging more and more with communities. His Instagram page shows tons of photos with him at schools. He also mentioned he spends time with elder groups. And through this service, he gains new insight and perspective on his art that he can use to grow, even while giving back to others. Continue reading →
“Because of that one choice, so many other possibilities came up. They were already there…” Warren Montoya of Rezonate Art and Rezilience on finding new perspectives.
Warren Montoya, creator of Rezilience
Warren Montoya is the founder of Rezonate Art. He appeared previously on NextGen Native to discuss the company’s beginnings and goals. He returned to discuss what he’s been up to recently.
Warren pivoted his work with Rezonate after realizing he wanted to change the way his business worked. He described in this conversation (and our previous conversation) that part of his goal with the company was to build a sustainable business that could eventually support other artists. Warren realized that he could change his business model so that he did the support and education directly, rather than use his profits through selling merchandise. Continue reading →
“You give everything you got. It’s hard, It’s super challenging. You give all your life force to your art. so when you see the tiny moment when people are smiling, laughing, or being proud…”-Natalie Benally
Natalie Benally at the premiere of Finding Nemo. Image courtesy of Benally
Natalie Benally, Navajo, wears many hats. Or maybe the better metaphor is…dance shoes. Natalie is a member of the Native American contemporary dance company Dancing Earth. She also served as the voice of Dory for the remake of Finding Nemo, or Nemo Hádéést’į́į́. Oh, and she also has a full time job as the teacher of the arts back on Navajo Nation. Natalie and I connected while Dancing Earth was visiting Crystal Bridges as part of a special exhibit on dance. We had a wide ranging conversation.Continue reading →
As you can tell, Jaclyn pours her energy into both her work and her personal projects. But she does it all because she has a passion for creativity and for creating and supporting positivity in Indian Country. Jaclyn’s energy is infectious and her story is not one to miss. Continue reading →
On Hopi Girl Silver and silversmithing: “I wanted to inspire [my sister] to carry on our traditions through any kind of art.”–Cynthia Begay
The Origins of Hopi Girl Silver
Cynthia Begay is Hopi and the brains and talent behind Hopi Girl Silver. Check out her amazing work at www.hopigirlsilver.com.
Cynthia Begay, photo credit: eeman agrama minert
Cynthia grew up in Bakersfield, CA. During the summers, she would spend time with her family back home. There she watched family members that were silversmiths. When she went to college she would ask “which family member made that for you?” Only to realize that not everyone can get their jewelry from their family members. She was determined to work with silver, but thought she would do it when she retired and could move to the rez.
She is currently in a Master’s program in health (epidemiology research) and plans to pursue her Ph.D.Continue reading →
Kalika grew up in Bellingham, Washington before moving back to the Albuquerque area during middle school. Her family moved back to the southwest in order to be closer to other family and Central New Mexico Community College before going on to earn her cosmetology degree.
She became interested in hair design after spending some time with family in Mexico City where her cousin was a stylist. We discuss the incredible impact someone in this field can have on their clients. Hair care is incredibly intimate, and as Kalika describes, can be very therapeutic. This bond has created friendships with her clients and they share important aspects of their lives with each other.
Kalika opened her salon after realizing she realized there were no organic salons in ABQ that were not using chemicals. She found a great space for a business and decided to take the leap. But it’s more than just a hair salon. Her business now employs several individuals that contribute to a more holistic experience for clients beyond haircare, including massages and Ayurveda services. She also has several interns from the Native American Community Academy. She also plans to open her space for more community events.
Kalika became involved with the Native Entrepreneur in Residence after being connected by a friend, and fellow podcast interviewee, Warren Montoya from Rezonate Art. The program focuses on providing mentorship and support to Native businesses.
Evelyn Lazaro also joined us for the conversation. She joined Salon Tallou after participating in the internship through the academy. Eventually she was offered a full time job at the salon. Evelyn is also a student at Central New Mexico Community College.
It’s great to see a business that started out of a need, and is growing to provide more services for the community. It’s also amazing to see the amazing resources and support for Kalika’s business: networking, mentorship and more, both formally and informally. Kalika is now using the business to pay forward some of the support through her internships with NACA. It’s a great story of a NextGen Native making impacts in people’s daily lives.
As a kid, Tanaya knew she would attend Stanford. She just knew it. Tanaya thought she would become a lawyer, but wanted some exposure to liberal arts while an undergraduate. She applied to other schools, and was admitted to these schools, but ultimately decided to fulfill her goal that she had for years to attend Stanford. There were some moments when the certainty was in question.
After her grandfather passed away while she was in high school, she spent time working at a casino instead of attending school (though she had enough credits). She thought that she would just continue working at the casino until she realized her grandfather would want her to finish her education. When she returned to school, one of the few classes that would allow her to enroll was a creative writing class. Tanaya Winder found the writing helped her through the difficult time after her grandfather’s death.
While attending Stanford, Tanaya eventually switched majors to focus on her creative side. It took time for her to overcome imposter syndrome. After enduring a friend’s suicide, she found that the creative writing continued to help her process her grief. She eventually went on to earn a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico, all the while trying to find her voice as an artist. She did, and now she has a collection of works published in the book Words Like Love.Continue reading →
Warren Montoya is the co-founder of Rezonate Art. Warren is from the Santa Ana and Santa Clara pueblos in New Mexico.
Warren Montoya, image courtesy of Rezonate Art
Eric Manolito is an employee at Rezonate Art. Eric is Navajo (Dine).
The company helps contemporary Native artists build and audience and sell their works through the Rezonate website. We discuss how an interest in art led Warren to start Rezonate, and where they see it growing both in the short term and in 3-5 years.
Rezonate is co-hosting an event called Creative Frequencies next month in ABQ during Gathering of Nations. The event will feature Native hip hop, a fashion show featuring Native designers, and live art done by Native artists. The event sounds awesome and if you are making the trek to GON you should check out this event, which is also co-hosted by Beyond Buckskin Boutique. For more information, see the links below.