elizabeth

11 Dec 2017 133 views
 
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photoblog image The Painted Desert Project

The Painted Desert Project

 

“It’s important people not necessarily embrace but at least acknowledge this thing has its own life and life span, and there’s a period in which it is beautiful,” Thomas says. “But then it starts to age, and we are frequently repulsed by that because it’s not as appealing and engaging — but that’s what happens with people, too. Everyone says this is a youth-oriented culture, and we don’t appreciate elders. There is that life lesson in this practice in doing an ephemeral art practice.”   

~Dr. James Edward "Chip" Thomas, Jr.; AKA:  Jetsonorama

https://jetsonorama.net/the-painted-desert-project/

 

Chip Thomas working at Grey Mountain. Photo by Dawn Kish.
Chip Thomas working at Grey Mountain. Photo by Dawn Kish.

On windswept days, Chip Thomas hoists himself onto a ladder that stretches into the azure sky. His shoes and hands are stained, gummy with paste, but the street artist known as Jetsonorama still smiles. Now 52, the doctor, photographer and muralist has worked on the Navajo Nation since 1987.

 

Thomas’ monumental black-and-white images blanket city walls and roadside stands from Telluride to Flagstaff and the Navajo Reservation. They amplify every crease in a traditional Diné woman’s face; every eyelash of a younger-generation couple, each image imprinted with a universal message of environmental stewardship.

 

Shot, enlarged and adhered with acrylic paste, Thomas’ work highlights a population often called America’s most overlooked. They remind tourists traversing the highways of the American Southwest that they are there, and that they have a voice, Thomas says. “There are eyes from all over the world who are seeing this work. But my primary conversation and dialogue with doing this work is people on the reservation,” Thomas says of the area that is home to 180,000 people.

 

As a doctor, Thomas treats chronic symptoms relating to past and present residents’ work in the area’s coal mines. As an artist, he addresses the same, detailing systemic issues including poverty on and off the reservation. Aware of his location between Monument Valley and both rims of the Grand Canyon, Thomas notes his work’s ability to increase the visibility of roadside stands where indigenous craftspeople vend their pieces, a visibility that offers them a sense of pride in their heritage.

 

 

Image result for photo murals on navajo reservation

Photo by Laurel Morales

 

Additional photos and text taken from an article in Dorado Magazine: 

https://doradomagazine.com/the-big-picture/

 

More articles:  

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/artist-chip-thomas-aka-jetsonorama-on-cultural-stereotypes-grassroots-activism-and-life-on-the-navajo-reservation-7845349

 

http://www.fronterasdesk.org/content/10107/doctor-unmasked-artist-provokes-inspires-navajo-nation

 

 

The Painted Desert Project

 

“It’s important people not necessarily embrace but at least acknowledge this thing has its own life and life span, and there’s a period in which it is beautiful,” Thomas says. “But then it starts to age, and we are frequently repulsed by that because it’s not as appealing and engaging — but that’s what happens with people, too. Everyone says this is a youth-oriented culture, and we don’t appreciate elders. There is that life lesson in this practice in doing an ephemeral art practice.”   

~Dr. James Edward "Chip" Thomas, Jr.; AKA:  Jetsonorama

https://jetsonorama.net/the-painted-desert-project/

 

Chip Thomas working at Grey Mountain. Photo by Dawn Kish.
Chip Thomas working at Grey Mountain. Photo by Dawn Kish.

On windswept days, Chip Thomas hoists himself onto a ladder that stretches into the azure sky. His shoes and hands are stained, gummy with paste, but the street artist known as Jetsonorama still smiles. Now 52, the doctor, photographer and muralist has worked on the Navajo Nation since 1987.

 

Thomas’ monumental black-and-white images blanket city walls and roadside stands from Telluride to Flagstaff and the Navajo Reservation. They amplify every crease in a traditional Diné woman’s face; every eyelash of a younger-generation couple, each image imprinted with a universal message of environmental stewardship.

 

Shot, enlarged and adhered with acrylic paste, Thomas’ work highlights a population often called America’s most overlooked. They remind tourists traversing the highways of the American Southwest that they are there, and that they have a voice, Thomas says. “There are eyes from all over the world who are seeing this work. But my primary conversation and dialogue with doing this work is people on the reservation,” Thomas says of the area that is home to 180,000 people.

 

As a doctor, Thomas treats chronic symptoms relating to past and present residents’ work in the area’s coal mines. As an artist, he addresses the same, detailing systemic issues including poverty on and off the reservation. Aware of his location between Monument Valley and both rims of the Grand Canyon, Thomas notes his work’s ability to increase the visibility of roadside stands where indigenous craftspeople vend their pieces, a visibility that offers them a sense of pride in their heritage.

 

 

Image result for photo murals on navajo reservation

Photo by Laurel Morales

 

Additional photos and text taken from an article in Dorado Magazine: 

https://doradomagazine.com/the-big-picture/

 

More articles:  

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/artist-chip-thomas-aka-jetsonorama-on-cultural-stereotypes-grassroots-activism-and-life-on-the-navajo-reservation-7845349

 

http://www.fronterasdesk.org/content/10107/doctor-unmasked-artist-provokes-inspires-navajo-nation

 

 

comments (19)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 11 Dec 2017, 03:13
Very good Art!
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Frank and I just love seeing these murals whenever we drive through the Rez. Frank has featured several - and each one just speaks volumes. Most of the people he features are his patients.
Bonjour ,
Personnellement je suis une grande fan de cet art ..il y a beaucoup de talent parmi ces personnes .
Merci pour ce partage
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Hi Claudine! Thank you so much, Claudine! Yes there is... smile
What an artist of and for the forgotten people of our country, Elizabeth. Thank you for paying tribute to him and his work of love and education.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Thank you, Ginnie! And you're so welcome! For a long time he tried to remain anonymous - but journalists tracked him down - and there for, so did I! Frank and I saw him in the grocery store once, but lost him in the crowd before we were able to tell him how much we admired his work!
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 11 Dec 2017, 06:49
I am a fan of this sort of thing for sure..
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: I'm glad, Chris - so am I!
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Dec 2017, 07:02
Yay! Good for him! Ion the UK, too, the emphasis is towards the youth which is fine fo me know but when I get old, I will be the forgotten wink I have to say that I can't recall seeing any of these but I do recall the coal mines and thinking how incongruous they were in the desert. If it helps the naaco, too, then that will help.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: YAY, indeed! You will not be forgotten, Alan - you will have hordes of admirers banging down your door wanting to see your photos!
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 11 Dec 2017, 07:07
What a great man this and what a fascinating life he has. Good for him to make the people 'visible' again.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Thank you, Astrid! I am such an admirer of his!
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 11 Dec 2017, 07:07
A doctor with a cause - other than becoming rich. Now that is a man - and a n artist to boot.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Much to admire, Louis!
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 11 Dec 2017, 07:42
Society does seem to be youth-oriented - there are so many visible young! Often in a train carriage I am the oldest
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: So true!
It's a sad statement. I am always so pleased when a young person comes into our office accompanying, and attending to their elders.
This is a terrific post E.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Thanks a bunch, Bill!
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 11 Dec 2017, 08:53
I do think this idea is very good Elizabeth. A great opportunity for artists to show what they can do.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: I think it's great, Chad!
I've never come across anything like this before. Sadly in the UK the attitude by a lot of the young people to we older generations is awful, they want everything we older folks have worked all our lives to get now, or rather we didn't have anything at all!
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: It's wonderful - Frank and I spend a lot of time on tribal lands, and we encounter this work everywhere we go!
It's too bad about the self centered youngsters. I'm always touched when a young person accompanies and attends to an elder in our office.
  • Anne
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 Dec 2017, 14:26
What fascinating and wonderful art.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: I just love it!
  • Beth
  • United States
  • 11 Dec 2017, 18:42
Wonderful images and thank you for the introduction to such an interesting man.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Thank you, Beth! And you're welcome!
Magritte should be living at this hour!
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Ah - way ahead of his time!
Well done, Ell'. You did a great job here, showing this guys work, and getting the links.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Thanks so much, Frank! It was fun doing the research!
The man has found more than one calling, certainly to be admired. I remember some of his work.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: I think he's certainly an amazing and fascinating character!
I love this man's dedication. It is admirable,
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: I agree, Larry!
i like his energy, Elizabeth. and i think this is a great initiative. and it reminds me of the movie Thudnerheart.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Me too, Ayush! Much to admire!
I love that movie - and how it brought the "overlooked" to the forefront, for a time.
  • Steven
  • Chicagoland
  • 12 Dec 2017, 19:42
Wow!! What stunning colors you've captured here!! I love the strata that the colors create. The murals add a nice element to these landscapes.
Elizabeth Croston Buckalew: Thanks so much, Steven! There's a reason it's called the Painted Desert! I do love seeing these murals wherever we go on the reservation!

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