“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 is Diné and the owner of OXDX Clothing. He also happens to be the brother of previous NextGen Native guest and NASA engineer, Aaron Yazzie.
Jared Yazzie with his “Native Americans Discovered Columbus” design.
Jared went to the University of Arizona on a full ride scholarship to study engineering. But after a few years, he realized that path was not for him. Jared left the university and enrolled at Pima Community College. He would transition into arts. During this time he started to sell shirts out of his car trunk. This is where the hustle of what would become OXDX began.
The Beginning of OXDX
After college Jared went to work for a screen print shop. He continued to design and print his own shirts. On the weekends, Jared traveled to the reservation to sell his merchandise. He found that while he was onto something, not everyone was supportive. Jared had to learn how to listen to negative feedback while not internalizing it.
Originally, Jared’s company was called Overdose. The name was taken from a lyric in Lupe Fiasco’s “Baba Says Cool for Thought” where a line warns not to “overdose on the cool.” Jared found the lyrics resonated with his experience moving from the rez to a city where there was potential to overdose on everything a city has to offer. Overtime, Overdose evolved into OXDX and the name has stuck ever since.
Another design is making a resurgence after Bobby Wilson of the 1491s wore a “Mis-Rep” shirt on The Daily Show during a segment about the R******s. That particular shirt is an homage to the Misfits, one of the Yazzie brothers’ favorite punk bands, combined with a message about misappropriation.
Yazzie is working to build his brand into something much bigger than it is currently. He wants it to be more than just a t-shirt company, and he wants it to be recognized beyond just Native communities. He is grinding to get to this point, and he is close to being able to do OXDX full time. But for now he is putting in long hours working both his day job and then doing OXDX afterwards.
This was a great conversation that ran the gamut of shifting focus, grinding to build a business, utilizing other Native companies, supporting other Native artists, and remaining true to oneself and their vision. Be sure to check out the entire episode.
Jessica Metcalfe (Twitter, Instagram) is Turtle Mountain Chippewa. She is the owner of Beyond Buckskin Boutique and also runs the Beyond Buckskin blog. Beyond Buckskin is all about Native fashion. The boutique sells products and merchandise designed by some of the leading Native American fashion designers in the country.
Before starting Beyond Buckskin, Jessica attended Dartmouth College and then received a Master’s and Ph.D at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation focused on Native American fashion designers since the 1950s.
Jessica’s academic research prompted the creation of her blog and ultimately the Beyond Buckskin Boutique.
Shon Quannie is Pueblo of Acoma, Hopi and New Mexican. He owns 4X studio based in Phoenix, Arizona. On this episode of the NextGen Native podcast, we discuss his work at 4X Studio and design generally.
Shon Quannie, courtesy of Shon Quannie
I have to give Shon Quannie a shout out because he helped design the NextGen Native logo. We discuss its meaning in the episode, so if you are curious about how it came to be, check it out!
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