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Press Release

Release Date: May 01, 2019

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



  • Starr Hardridge

Muskogee-Creek citizen Starr Hardridge says all artists search for ways to set their creations apart from the rest of the field. The answer, for him, was found in an art form known as “pointillism.”

“I think every artist looks for that one thing they can attach their name to, something that’s going to set them apart from everybody else,” Hardridge said.“That’s one of the most difficult things - to find your way, your style, your unique voice.”

Pointillism, he explains, is a technique of painting in which small, distinct, acrylic dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. It was first developed in 1886 as a branch of impressionism.

“That’s definitely my signature deal,” he said.

Hardridge will be joining over 100 other Native American artists showing their works at the 2019 Artesian Arts Festival in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25.

He developed the technique while doing research for his painting “Cultural Baggage,” a featured piece in “Return from Exile,” a 2015-16 tour that retraced back to the homelands the trek his ancestors endured on the Trail of Tears. Curators for the show were Native American artists Bobby Martin and Tony Tiger, and Jace Weaver, director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia.

“I was thinking about the things that were lost along the way, and the things that were gained or retained, and it inspired development of this style,” he said.

“I wanted to represent beadwork because a lot of old beadwork ceased to exist when our ancestors came to Oklahoma. That was one thing that was lost. Anything that wasn’t utilitarian in craft or art or design wasn’t necessarily being created after the Muskogees arrived in Oklahoma.

“I approach my paintings with a bead worker’s aesthetic,” he said. “My idea is to give the impression of beadwork when you look at it. Sometimes I do it in a way people aren’t quite sure what they’re looking at because I’m taking paint out of the context of brushwork, but removing the brush altogether. I use a tool to apply the paint.”

Hardridge said the final production can take up to 80 hours of tedious work to complete. Color dots are applied within 1/16’s of an inch from each other on a 20 inch by 30-inch canvas.

A great deal of forethought is a must.

“You don’t want to get four or five hours into a painting and realize you don’t like it and want to start over,” he said.

Hardridge, whose home base is in Edmond, Oklahoma, says he’s looking forward to his first ever Artesian Arts Festival.

“I’m excited. Although I used to go to Turner Falls as a kid, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Sulphur.”

Native American cultures will be displayed through a diverse array of art media. More than 21 art disciplines will be represented at the event, including paintings, basketry, jewelry, sculpture, metalwork, beadwork and textiles.

Various art demonstrations and/or discussions will take place within the ARTesian Gallery & Studios. These will include such famed artists as Oklahoma and Chickasaw Hall of Fame inductee Mike Larsen.

Entertainment provided at no charge during the Artesian Arts Festival will include a children’s tent for make-and-take items and a senior arts and crafts area with several offerings from elder artists. Two stages will provide a venue for live performances.

Opening ceremonies will include a demonstration by the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe, with other tribal dance troupes performing throughout the day.

More than 15 food vendors will offer varied culinary delights. Shuttles will be available to transport patrons to and from the Chickasaw Cultural Center.

The Artesian Arts Festival takes place at the Artesian Plaza, located adjacent to the Artesian Hotel and Spa, 1001 W. First St., Sulphur.

For more information, contact Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities at (580) 272-5520 or email ArtistInfo@Chickasaw.net.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016