Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Things That Formed My Art

I was asked to write a bio on myself. So here goes... My bronzes are collected around the world. I started sculpting in the 12th grade at a High School in the Salt Lake Valley (Skyline High School). I was offered three scholarships, but never thought I'd be an artist, so I joined the Navy in 1965 for 4 years.
Attended the University of Utah in the 70s. Lasted one and a half quarters when the art professor tried to get me to go more modern... Told em to ... well I quit.
Self taught mostly. I was a member of the American Indian and Cowboy Artists in the early 90s till they disbanded.
I've had one man shows all over the west. In 1991 I had a one man show in Jakarta Indonesia.. Yep they bought a lot of my work. In fact the artist to the Royal Family of Thailand bought a Bronc Buster Bronze of mine at the show.
Don't do many shows. At 69 years of age.. It's getting harder to do them.
What was the inspiration for the direction of my artwork.... a day in the Uinta Mountains with my Grandmother, Hilda Lemon. my Great Grandmother was French Canadian Indian (not sure of the Tribe's name though), and my great Grandfather was of European decent... My Grandmother, and her family, all lived in a cabin in the high Uinta Mountains. She was raised in that cabin in a beautiful mountain meadow..
Back in the 1950s I remember going with my family up to see the cabin... It was still standing but not much longer because a Freeway was to be built through that area.. sadly it's gone now..
Grandmother, in her old light blue flowered dress, with her apron on, and her hair in a tight bun on the back of her head took me to a window in the cabin.. I remember the smell of damp dirt... and old rotting logs.. The roof still had sod on it... It was cool inside... and dark but for the window... She took me to that window.. took my shoulder and I looked in the direction of her gaze... and her pointing finger.. She told me that when she was a little girl, in the late 1890s, she remembered watching the Ute Indians as they walked through the woods at the edge of the forest.. on their hunting parties.. They'd come to the cabin and ask for food, and they were never turned away without food.. It was that moment that sparked my intense desire to create Indians in my art. Never lost that moment. My Aunt's farm, in Coalville Utah had a tool shed, I remember, as a kid, seeing a pair of old dried up, flattened out, and curved up at the rear and front of the toes, Indian Moccasins, fully beaded sitting on the tool table.. probably Ute, I always wondered what the story behind them was..
Not sure how much of me is French Canadian Indian, but it's in my work.. the feeling for that life style... and beliefs. Limited as it is, in my upbringing.. I'll never ever have all the knowledge my Indigenous friends have.. and it will never be as authentic as their art is. But I can live with that.. It's my love for history that moves me.
I'm in Loveland Colorado at the moment. Packing to head back home to Ennis Montana, and the Madison Valley I'll be passing through country that was fought over 150 years ago. Crossing rivers with familiar names, like the Powder River, Passing the Custer Battle Field, or the sight of the Indian's greatest victory over the US Army, and the point at which they're freedom ended, in 1876.
Driving along the Yellowstone River and it's beautiful landscape. I'm reminded that history here for Europeans, is short but for those who they met here, it had been written for Millennia unknown.
My clays are infused with my life experiences and the knowledge I've gained from study and passion.

Photographs of Ute Indians


La Fee Vert said...

Nice bio. It explains a lot about you and your work. Thanks

Dario T. W. said...

hello David,
many thanks for sharing your stories - by the way, your French-Canadian Indians (well, with some French Canadians and mostly the Great Lakes Indians) scored the greatest military victory over the US Army back in 1791 -battle of the Wabash or St. Clair's defeat https://armyhistory.org/the-battle-of-the-wabash-the-forgotten-disaster-of-the-indian-wars/ As they say, it was a great day to die on that November 4, 1791
Love your art and ... your art lessons
Wish you many more winters of productive life and many great pieces.
Hope for many more enlightening videos on how to sculpt horses and figures

Artist - David Lemon said...

Thank you La Fee Vert... and Dario.. very much...
Interesting history... to bad Hollywood won't make movies that tell our story..