I started creating Art at a very young age. I remember always drawing as a young kid. Watching my great uncle Dalton painting and drawing. Then also watching my dad and grand father carving kachina dolls. I think I always wanted to sell my art work. I thought about this going to art shows with my dad. But I didn’t really get serious about it until I was in my thirties. I had gone to culinary school and was working in the restaurant business for a few years. That was always my original plan, to cook, I wanted to open a restaurant on Hopi. Along the way I got back into drawing and then painting. I did this as a way to relax and relieve stress after being in the kitchen for 12 hours.
At this time I decided it was time to move back home. I didn’t want to go back to cooking so I decided that I would sell my art work to the tourists coming out to Hopi. I gave myself two years, to make a living, on my art. If I couldn’t do it I was going to find another cooking job. Luckily I was able to make things happen and have been doing art full time ever since.
I don’t have a favorite artist. I have many. They are my family. My father, grandfather, grandmothers, uncles and cousins. They all have many great qualities. My father instilled hard work and determination. My grandfather is an excellent sales man. The way he presents himself and talks about his art work. My grandmothers for their attention to detail, painting fine lines and their vast knowledge about pottery designs. My uncles and cousins for their creativity and curiosity about art. They are always willing to try new ideas and techniques. Also how they are always having a fun time. No matter what they are doing. That’s what makes art exciting.
Art is great because you get inspiration from everything. Culture, family, nature, the land, and other artists. For me I like creating when I’m with my family. They all do art wether it be carving, painting, drawing, or music. That’s when the atmosphere for creating art is the best. You feed off one another’s energy. We all talk about,what we are creating, giving and getting suggestions. Listening to music from the radio or from someone that is playing the guitar or the flute.
With my art I primarily use watercolor, fine line brushes, medium brushes, and a two inch wide brush for the background wash. I use the four primary colors in my work, red, blue, yellow and black. The difference in these colors is that they match the natural pigments that are traditionally used on Hopi. We get these colors from grinding natural colored stones into a fine powder . I would use these natural pigments but they are very delicate. Also they are sometimes hard to find. With commercial water colors I can keep my colors more consistent and they last a lot longer.
The designs in my work have lots of meaning to them. From a long straight line to small curves and turns. For me a long straight line represents your life. We pray that a person has a long , good, healthy life. Life also has its ups and downs and twists and turns. My paintings are full of designs representing nature, a healthy life, prosperity, and positivity. For me my paintings are a picture of my prayers for the world and every living thing in it. The designs are of prayer feathers, rain, corn, clouds, animals, insects, migration patterns, and many other elements.on Hopi we pray for moisture for our crops. We are dry farmers. Meaning we rely on the rain storms. We don’t irrigate or water our fields. We depend on the rains to nourish our plants.
My favorite piece of art is a painting that I titled “Grandmother’s Teachings”. This piece was dedicated to my Great Grandmother and Grandmother. It was one of my largest watercolor paintings that I have ever painted. It measures 16”x20” and is packed with hundreds of pottery designs in a mosaic style. It also includes two rain maidens, cloud spirits, and the the mother to the kachinas. The entire painting from start to finish was around two weeks. The original painting was photographed and turned into a 1000 piece puzzle that measures 19’’x28.5’’. The original painting was also sold to a local Hopi family. I’m glad that this piece has stayed so close to home.
One thing that I would like to do in the future is to create a line of acrylic jewelry. With so much, technology and new tools, this idea is starting to become a reality. I have been working on new designs and ideas. The part that is holding me up is the space I need for the equipment and the equipment its self. I see myself getting closer and closer to this goal all the time. Eventually I would like to have a line of jewelry.
Getting to this goal is what motivates me to create more and more everyday. I not only want to do jewelry but clothing, other merchandise like, drink ware, journals, puzzles, and even incorporating my art into food. My sister went to pastry school. I would like to include my art with food. Mostly in cookies, cakes And other types of pastries. With my medium I can incorporate it in so many different avenues.
Recently I’ve been working on jewelry and clothing. Using a variety of different types of materials to put the images I create onto them. I’ve been using iron vinyl and transfer sheets that you can print images on. New items like these excite me about creating. For the most part I love to work everyday. Some days are harder than others when it comes to creating new images. Usually I can put an image to paper very fast but some days I draw a blank. Days like this, are the days that I’ll take a break. I’ll go run errands, visit family, or even just take a drive. These all help to relax and clear my mind. Also these days are great to catch up on the business end of things, stuff we all love to do, paper work. Once I clear my mind I ease back into creating. Sketching new ideas or just putting matting supplies together for future pieces of work.
As an artist it has been great to create new art for people to enjoy. For me it’s not just about what I create , but also the people that I meet and the places that I have traveled. Since the start of my art career I have been lucky enough to meet so many people and go so many places. The journey is only starting. In the next five to ten years I would love to do bigger and greater things. So far I have traveled most of the south west with my art. I plan to go further. All of North America and eventually travel the world. Sharing not only my art but also my culture. I have always wanted to travel to Japan and Austria.I have always had people from these two countries drawn to my work. So I would love to travel to these places to share my art. Most of all just share it with the world.
|We will be selling Abel Nash’s merchandise and paintings at our annual holiday sale on November 13. We are thrilled to be able to work with Abel to curate a great grouping of his artwork. |
Stay tuned for more information about our November 13 sale!
Follow Abel Nash’s work at the links below: