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Press Release

Release Date: June 21, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Chickasaw artist taking next steps to refine talent

ARDMORE, Okla. — Award-winning Chickasaw artist Chance Brown is busy.

In addition to accepting art commissions, painting murals and adding new works to his portfolio for art markets — including the upcoming Artesian Art Festival — Brown is embarking on a life-altering path.

Recently accepted to graduate school at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Brown is preparing for a move, teaching an occasional art class in his hometown and working with fellow Chickasaw artists to create collaborative art.

He is energized by preparing to participate in the June 25 Artesian Arts Festival in Sulphur. He looks forward to reconnecting with old acquaintances and making new connections.

The ninth-annual festival returns to in-person this year after a two year virtual offering due to the recent pandemic.

“What’s great about an in-person festival is that spontaneity,” he said. “You kind of know what to expect, but you are going to make other connections. You might make a commission from someone that you were not expecting. It’s the element of surprise. That’s exciting.”

His appearance at the Chickasaw Nation art festival is one of the last items on his “to-do” list before heading south to begin graduate school and fulfill a long-term goal.

Intrigued and dazzled by artwork at a young age, Brown was mentored and encouraged to pursue a formal education in art by his Dickson High School art teacher, Leanne West.

“I feel like art has always had a place in my heart, and has always been in my mind, even from an early age,” Brown said in a 2020 interview.

Fresh from earning a degree in fine art from East Central University in 2013, he went to work full time harboring a goal of completing a master’s degree “someday.”

During the pandemic, he resolved to seize the day and began applying to graduate programs.

“I had always talked about attending grad school and I realized I either needed to quit talking about it or be about it.”

While attending the three-year program at UTSA, Brown plans to expand his plein air painting in the expansive Texas landscape. He also looks forward to connecting with new artists and art communities.

But his Chickasaw ties remain steadfast and always influence all aspects of his art, he said.

“Despite not growing up in a traditional Chickasaw household, I am highly invested in our people,” Brown said.

Having the opportunity to work in a culture-centric position with the Chickasaw Nation for many years, Brown developed a large network of fellow Chickasaw artists with whom he stays in touch and sometimes consults.

“Working so closely with the Chickasaw people as a Chickasaw person for so many years really reinforced that sense of community,” he said. “If I have a question about using some sort of image in a piece, I have a network of people to ask.

“I try to utilize the imagery in a respectful way and be thoughtful about it. I feel the Chickasaw connection is reflected in my work, in a sense that I need to reclaim that part of me.”

Brown’s piece “Greenwood, Archer & Pine” was the People’s Choice Award winner at the 2021 Southeastern Art Show and Market (SEASAM).

The piece commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Smiling members of the GAP (Greenwood, Archer & Pine) band, named to pay homage to their neighborhood, are prominently featured in the foreground. Historic buildings and fiery oil derrick are featured in the artwork’s background.

Brown interwove layers of personal and cultural images into the vibrant painting. Traditional Muskogean wind pattern motifs are featured across the bottom of “Greenwood, Archer & Pine,” which serve as a narrative of the artist’s First American heritage.

“Being Chickasaw is innately a mainstay in who I am,” he said.

Brown’s versatile portfolio also includes landscapes, as well as thought-provoking abstract works which incorporate cultural symbols and juxtaposed subjects.

“I like to play around with concepts, and if it’s weird, that’s all right. There is room for weirdness in the art world,” he said.

Brown’s work can be viewed at the Artesian Arts Festival June 25 or on his Facebook page, Chance Browns Artwork.

About Artesian Arts Festival

Hosted by the Chickasaw Nation, the Artesian Arts Festival is a celebration of all art expressions.

The one-day event features diverse art media created by elite First American artists, showcased at the Artesian Plaza, 1001 W. First St., in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma.

Open to the public at no cost, the Artesian Arts Festival welcomed more than 11,000 visitors in 2019, the most recent in-person festival. The Artesian Online Art Market was launched in 2020 and 2021 and will also be available this year.

For more information, visit ArtesianArtsFestival.com or call (580) 272-5525.