Release Date: June 16, 2020
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office
Ada, Oklahoma -- Chickasaw artist Chance Brown fondly remembers the sense of wonderment and intrigue he felt while gazing at art work as a youngster.
“I feel like art has always had a place in my heart, and has always been in my mind, even from an early age,” the 29-year-old said.
As he grew older, Mr. Brown was encouraged by his second grade teacher at Dickson (Oklahoma) school to pick up color pencils and create his own art.
By the time he was in high school, art teacher and mentor Leann Parker-West introduced Mr. Brown to other mediums, such as acrylic and oil paints, graphite and charcoal.
This early encouragement and instruction led Mr. Brown to pursue a degree in Fine Arts from East Central University, where he graduated in 2013.
Today, Mr. Brown applies his lifelong training, inspiration and adoration of art to create a vast array of artwork, ranging from the abstract to plein aire landscapes, which are available to view online at ArtesianArtsFestival.com.
As he has developed as an artist, Mr. Brown has added new techniques and subjects to his portfolio. His current works showcased on the virtual arts market include paintings of Oklahoma and Colorado landscapes, as well as thought-provoking abstract works which incorporate cultural symbols and juxtaposed subjects.
His representational work “Smoke” was created with PrismaColor markers and acrylic paint. The painting features a warrior astride a galloping horse, which is accented by a vivid color pallet and several other cultural designs.
Likewise, “Conceited” features a rock icon contrasted with insects and framed by a traditional serpent pattern.
“I like to play around with concepts, and if it's weird, that’s alright. There is room for weirdness in the art world,” he said.
He wishes to bring a sense of calm, as well as intrigue, to viewers of his artwork.
“I hope that people take away a moment of pause, especially in these difficult times. Specifically to my representational artwork, I hope the viewer has a sense of ease. And, perhaps with my more juxtaposed works, they might spark a dialogue within themselves or others about what they care for or do not care for in the work, or ask ‘why?”’
He credits networks of community artists for helping him develop as an artist and refine his technique.
Working as a teacher assistant one summer for the Chickasaw Nation Arts Academy led to a full-time position with the Chickasaw Nation, and offered Mr. Brown the opportunity to join a supportive network of First American artists. He describes the group’s dynamic as a native kinship.
“I try to get their takes and perspectives. I’ve tried to heed the advice of the other artists around me - tried to be a sponge - and to genuinely hear what they are telling me about color rendering, color matching, and to think of my artwork in new ways.”
During the pandemic, Mr. Brown has spent his free moments working on his art, typically two pieces at a time.
“I set at a canvas for a few hours at a time, lay down some colors and go between two works.”
Although in his younger years, he focused on capturing the image of his favorite singers and characters, he tries not to use so many popular cultural references.
“It is a fine line. There needs to be self-refinement, always improving, while staying humble to the process,” he said.
Mr. Brown’s former art teacher, Muscogee (Creek) artist Leann Parker- West, said the expansion and development of his techniques and repertoire shows a great range in the young artist.
“Chance's latest work includes painted landscapes that are light and expressionistic. This is such a contrast from where he originally started, which was with work inspired by his love of Science Fiction movies, along with his love and extensive knowledge of Motown and R&B music. Work from his earlier years was very controlled and meticulously detailed. Both styles are top notch, which makes him even more impressive and sought after by followers,” Mrs. West said.
“He is constantly seeking inspiration that is both old and new, and experimenting with various techniques. He is proud of his culture and integrates that as well,” she added.
Mr. Brown is thankful for the unique opportunity to showcase his works virtually, along with other Chickasaw and Southeastern Indian artists.
“The fact there is a platform for the artist and a cultural event for the native artists is a wonderful thing.”
In addition to ArtesianArtsFestival.com, Mr. Brown’s works can be found at Chance Brown’s Artwork Facebook page, Chance Browns Artwork.
The Chickasaw Nation is hosting the Artesian Online Art Market where art lovers can purchase work from Chickasaw and Southeastern Indian artists through July 31.