Pickens Museum and NOC Announce Mural by Osage Artist Yatika Starr Fields

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Pickens Museum and NOC Announce Mural by Osage Artist Yatika Starr Fields. Representatives from NOC visit Yatika Starr Fields in his Tulsa Studio to discuss the mural Fields will paint at the NOC Tonkawa campus. From left Yatika Starr Fields, Sheri Snyder, NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations, Cheryl Evans, NOC President, and NOC student representative Morshayla Dumas. (Photo Hugh Pickens)
Pickens Museum and NOC Announce Mural by Osage Artist Yatika Starr Fields. Representatives from NOC visit Yatika Starr Fields in his Tulsa Studio to discuss the mural Fields will paint at the NOC Tonkawa campus. From left, Yatika Starr Fields and Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum (Photo by Cheryl Evans)
Pickens Museum and NOC Announce Mural by Osage Artist Yatika Starr Fields. Fields recently created a multi-hued, large scale mural “Astonishment of Perception” in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, in collaboration with the world-famous Crystal Bridges Museum.

North Central Oklahoma is becoming a center for murals. First "The Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman" by Daniel Pickens was installed at City Central in Ponca City in 2019. And all Ponca City is looking forward to the mural "Oklahoma Sunrise" that will be painted on the east side of the Robin Hood Flour Mill and "The Beauty of Life" which will be painted on the west side of the grain elevator by Rick Sinnett.

In the meantime NOC and Pickens Museum are announcing that work will begin on May 3 on a 20 foot by 50 foot mural that will be painted by Osage artist Yatika Starr Fields in the Native American Engagement Center in the Administration Building on the Tonkawa campus of NOC. The public is welcome to come and view the mural in progress this Friday, May 7 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. A mural time-lapse video will also be created.

Pickens Museum and NOC Announce Mural by Osage Artist Yatika Starr Fields

North Central Oklahoma is becoming a center for murals. First "The Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman" by Daniel Pickens was installed at City Central in Ponca City in 2019. And all Ponca City is looking forward to the mural "Oklahoma Sunrise" that will be painted on the east side of the Robin Hood Flour Mill and "The Beauty of Life" which will be painted on the west side of the grain elevator by Rick Sinnett.

In the meantime NOC and Pickens Museum are announcing that work will begin on May 3 on a 20 foot by 50 foot mural that will be painted by Osage artist Yatika Starr Fields in the Native American Engagement Center in the Administration Building on the Tonkawa campus of NOC. The public is welcome to come and view the mural in progress this Friday, May 7 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. A mural time-lapse video will also be created.

Fields is a nationally known painter and muralist. While attending the Art Institute of Boston from 2000 to 2004, he became interested in Graffiti aesthetics, which has been integral to his knowledge and process along with Landscape painting- and continues to influence his large- scale projects and studio works. Fields is from Oklahoma and currently living and working in Tulsa in conjunction with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Fields has spent the last decade on the East Coast, New York City and most recently Seattle where the energy of urban life inspires and feeds the creative force in his artwork. He seeks to influence his viewers to rethink and reshape their relationships to the world around them.

Fields compositions are often spontaneous and left open for interpretation so that multiple stories can be drawn from them

Fields compositions are often spontaneous and left open for interpretation so that multiple stories can be drawn from them. His kaleidoscopic imagery, with its dynamic pop, symbolism and culture aesthetic, reference both historical and contemporary themes- tied together with traditional affinity but provoked by general concerns of world differences.

Fields' canvasses and murals are alive with movement and filled with images that rely on vibrant colors and swirling patterns to build narratives that carry the eye. Born in Tulsa, Fields is of the Cherokee, Creek and Osage tribes, and is a member of the Bear Clan. At a young age, he was initiated into the Osage In-Lon-Schka dance society. There, he learned more than just how to dance.

"When you dance, it's always about movement and rhythm," he said. "This is something that's always been a part of my life. As any Native person knows who dances or participates in ceremonies, they understand that feeling of rhythm and place and movement." That usage of movement and "swiftness" has since carried into his work, allowing it to flow from one end of the canvas to the other.

Fields' interest in mural painting was influenced by the street art

Fields' interest in mural painting was influenced by the street art he created when he moved to New York in 2000. Either way, Fields did say the graffiti he painted helped him become a better artist overall.

"I had a good time doing it," says Fields. "I got in a lot of trouble doing it, and I realized I don't have the luck to be a good graffiti artist. I'm glad I did it, though. It was a good experience, knowing how to work quickly on the street and just using spray paint. I understood full body movement and how to paint quickly and be bold. That's something that's also carried into my studio work now."

Fields' paintings generally take two to three weeks to create and work on the mural at NOC is expected to be completed by the middle of May. Fields prefers a blank canvas when he begins, rather than drawing a sketch. He said there is no real blueprint for his paintings, and the result is typically a mesh between what his intentions were with what he was feeling in the moment. "I just see something and I'll add it," he said. "I don't hesitate to put what I think it needs, and I'll know it's finished when it just feels good."

Fields recently created a multi-hued, large scale mural “Astonishment of Perception” in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas

Fields recently created a multi-hued, large scale mural “Astonishment of Perception” in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, in collaboration with the world-famous Crystal Bridges Museum. Painted on the side of a law firm building that’s been in the community since the 1880s, the ambitious work centers on Lady Justice. But in Yatika’s rendition, she peers out from under her iconic blindfold, “seeing not the impartiality but injustices that exist today.” The mural at NOC is a result of a collaboration between Pickens Museum and NOC. "When Cheryl Evans said they were looking for an artist to paint a mural for the engagement center, I immediately recommended Yatika," says Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum adding that Pickens Museum already has ten paintings by Fields in its permanent collection. "Yatika was delighted to have the opportunity to paint a mural that will inspire Native American students at NOC."

“We are thrilled to partner with Hugh Pickens and the Doctor Pickens Museum,” said NOC president Cheryl Evans. “This mural will complete the fourth phase of the project and will enhance the Cultural Engagement Center. We are grateful for friends such as the Pickens who continue to support our College.”

"There’s a distinction between art in public and public art,” says Jack Becker, founder of Forecast Public Art, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, that has been helping the museums prioritize public art and expand their reach. “I can take a sculpture out of my studio and put it in a public space. It might have nothing to do with its surroundings. That’s art in public. Public art is specific to people and place; the context of the site should inform the content of the work. Good public art resonates and has meaning for audiences that know that place, and for those who don’t, it can provide an opportunity to learn."

Fields is becoming nationally known for his work.  He recently received representation by the Garth Greenam Gallery in New York City and is preparing for a one man show in 2022. "We were very pleased that a nationally known Native American artist will be installing a major work in North Central Oklahoma," says Pickens.

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Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. Seeking to attain his tribe's highest war honor by touching his enemy. This action among indigenous peoples is called "Counting Coup".
Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. “Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp” is a bronze created by Osage Artist John Free. The bronze, eight feet high and twelve feet long) was enlarged to 1-1/4 life size through the efforts of John Free of the Bronze Horse foundry in Pawhuska and Hugh Pickens. Pictured (L-R): Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum and Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear of the Osage Nation.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. “Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman” is a mural painted by fine artist Daniel Pickens. Daniel was born in Lima, Peru in 1974 and is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. This mural is at our Ponca City location.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. Our mural "The Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman" is located in City Central at our Ponca City location.
Doctor Pickens Museum of Turquoise Jewelry and Art. Pickens Museum displays art works at NOC Tonkawa campus. Pictured (L-R): Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President, Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum, and Sheri Snyder, NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College) This art is at our Tonkawa location
Native American Artist Yatika Starr Fields Completes Mural for Pickens Museum.
The World's Largest Naja. Future location of Pickens Museum on Route 60 and "U" Street West of Ponca City
Architectural Renderings of Pickens Museum.
Display of Turquoise Jewelry.
"Red Man" by Native American Artist Fritz Scholder. Pickens Museum Director Hugh Pickens on right.
Native American Jewelry Artist Tonya Rafael with a silver frame she created to honor my wife Sr. S.J. Pickens. My wife and Tonya worked together over the years creating new jewelry art pieces. My wife had an eye for color and would often design a spectacular piece and ask Tonya to execute it for her. A skilled silversmith, Tonya would sometimes stay in our guest house, set up a workshop, and work for days at a time on a Squash Blossom, Bolo, or Bracelet my wife commissioned. The piece is a silver picture frame that Tonya cut out of thick silver plate. Around the edge of the picture frame are 95 small turquoise stones. In the top is a large spiny oyster stone in the shape of a heart. The frame contains a photo that Tonya took of my wife a few years ago. Dr. Pickens is wearing one of her favorite outfits and if you look closely you can see a special squash blossom and necklace that Tonya created for my wife. In the bottom of the frame is an inscription.
Native American Artist Jolene Bird. Jolene Bird is an accomplished artist who learned her craft from her grandfather over 20 years ago. Jolene makes her jewelry in the tradition of the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. This is a Fender Stratocaster guitar onto which Jolene has attached pieces of Kingman and Sonoran Turquoise highlighted with Jet. The stars are in Abalone, Mother of Pearl, Pipestone, Yellow Serpentine, and Spiny Oyster. The artistry in this piece is simply breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed. Consider that this is a three dimensional mosaic, a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle if you will. Jolene told me that each individual piece of turquoise had to be cut, shaped, and ground down to fit perfectly with the other pieces. Each individual piece probably took six to eight hours to produce and there are literally hundreds of pieces covering the guitar.
Painting by Peruvian Artist Josue Sanchez. Photo Credit: Hugh Pickens Pickens Museum

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