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While Gilmore Scott stays true to his Navajo heritage painting landscapes of the Four Corners region and maternal figures cradling the Earth, the Utah artist distinguishes himself from other American Indian artists with the unexpected use of bold, contemporary colors.
"I'm not shy with my use of colors," said Scott, a member of the Navajo Nation, during a recent telephone interview from his home in Montezuma Creek. "I like to use bright oranges and blues that add a different twist."
Scott's colorful work can be seen Saturday and Sunday during the second annual Indian Art Market at the Natural History Museum of Utah. He is one of 24 American Indian artists from around the West who will display and sell original pottery, sculptures, jewelry, paintings, and glass, leather and bead work.
Artists had to apply to be part of the event and were selected by a special committee. Every artist could enter one piece for judging, with cash prizes to be awarded for Best of Show as well as first-, second- and third-place awards.
Having a juried event with prizes "brings up the quality level," said Scott, 40, who participated in last year's inaugural show.
Also returning is Black Eagle, an artist from the Shoshone/Yokut tribe who won Best of Show with a warrior suit of suede and beads. This year the "warrior artist" has entered an intricate mask with feathers and silver.
Pahponee, a self-taught clay artist and a descendant of the Kickapoo and Potawatomi nations, will return as well. She took second place last year with her elegant white pottery with textured details.
Scott, who attended the College of Eastern Utah and Utah State University, worked for nine years as a firefighter with the U.S. Forrest service before deciding to become an artist full time.
He works with watercolors, acrylics and colored pencils, sometimes mixing all three mediums. His works include Southwest desert landscapes and scenes of traditional Navajo homes, called hogans. And he often incorporates the same geometric designs used by Navajo rug weavers into his paintings.
He also has been sealing many pieces in resin rather than varnish.
"It has a super glossy finish, which complements the bold colors," he said.
While Scott's work comes in all sizes, he is especially excited about "Our Mother" No. 8, a large acrylic on canvas that he plans to bring to the Salt Lake City market. It shows a woman cradling the Earth, "a figure that is used in many creation and healing stories," he said.
The other artists who were selected for the Indian Art Market hail mostly from Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, said Suzanne Ruhlman, the museum's store manager who has helped organize the show. "It's a great chance to see work from many different tribes, talk to the artists and see the thought process behind their work."
The market will take place in the free area of the museum, so patrons do not have to buy tickets, Ruhlman said. If they are inspired by what they see, the museum offers a contemporary "Native Voice" exhibit as well as a display of ancient Fremont and Anasazi artifacts, which would both complement the market experience.
Indian Art Market
Learn more about native arts and culture during the second annual Indian Art Market. This juried show will feature works by 24 American Indian artists, who will display and sell original jewelry, beadwork, sculptures, paintings, glass and more. Cash prizes will be awarded for Best of Show as well as first-, second and third-place awards. American Indian drummers will perform as the market opens each day, with live flute music both afternoons.
When • Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where • Natural History Museum of Utah, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City
Cost • Free