Dewey Nelson is a Hopi Painter and Silversmith from Prescott, Arizona with a BFA from CalArts.
Artist statement -
My current works have become more abstract in an effort to avoid reliance on stereotypical "indian" imagery that many people require to be easily accessible or actually demand of a native artist. Another reason for this departure is to maintain reverence for traditional art forms such as tihu (carved Katsinam) which are not supposed to be commercialized or exploited. In most indigenous communities which have managed to retain strong connections to traditions, creativity is not called art but instead is considered a physical spiritual practice and meditation. Paying attention to this concept while creating "art" objects allows me to practice a timeless tradition while producing contemporary work. There will always be native symbology in my work because I am Hopi. I feel there are ways to abstract traditional symbology in un-offensive ways. This allows the undercurrent or "roots" of an individual's indigeneity to maintain a presence in the work. Once again themes of clouds, lightning, and rain are present. The colors are reminiscent of the colors found on the faces of Katsinam. Having included these various references to traditional colors and symbols, I am carrying on with the tradition of thinking positive thoughts of moisture and longevity into these art works.