Friday, September 26, 2014

ᏌᏊ ᎢᏯᎦᏰᎵ (saquu iyagayeli) is the Cherokee term for “one thousand.”

One thousand days ago, I gave myself a challenge. Perhaps challenge is not quite the word I’m looking for, but I’m in no mood for a thesaurus. Is it a challenge to breathe each day? Rhetorical question, mind you; I’m an asthmatic, so sometimes getting enough oxygen can be a challenge. To use a belabored metaphor, drawing is like breathing to me. My parents still have the first drawing I did when I was two years old which was of a deer tick - a clumsy oval with an odd amount of legs with a dot in the center. In elementary school I used to make extra cash by selling drawings of the Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee.  In junior high I started drawing comic strips for the school paper, and continued that on through high school.  As an undergrad I got my first professional gigs as a comic book artist and animator and started selling art and designing tattoos for people.  Along the way I got a couple degrees and such, but I still have yet to get some ink of my own. Natch.

In other words, I LOVE drawing.  I think of it as the purest form of artistic expression. There are no special materials needed. Making marks on surfaces is part of the human experience going back to the nameless artists who depicted the killing of animals on stone walls. Mankind has always been killing and drawing - destroying and creating. One can draw on foggy windows, scratch drawings in the dirt with a stick, and even in the foam of your latte.

Back to my challenge.  If I loved drawing so much, why not document the devotion to my passion?  When people were making their annual resolutions to lose weight and stop cursing so much, I resolved to do one drawing each day.  And to ensure I would follow my intent, I would post them online for the eyes of all who wished to look.  It started off easily enough. Then about a month later, people started expecting them.  So then I felt like I was obligated to do it and I almost stopped doing it before a year was up.  It seemed like an exercise in vanity (but what artist isn’t vain to some degree? I mean, come on! I don’t take selfies, but it could be argued an artist’s drawings could be selfies).  Then something pretty awesome happened: I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel to the old walled city of Assisi as a documentarian artist, courtesy of Gillian Gonda at the Fetzer Institute and the sponsorship of Dr. Loriene Roy.  I was hired to illustrate the happenings of the Fetzer Institute’s Global Gathering on Love and Forgiveness, a gathering of creative individuals who use compassion to make the world better.  Then months later, I wound up in Paris participating in the Grand Salon art exhibition.  The little Cherokee kid from Iron Post finally escaped the North American continent! During these enlightening journeys, I still maintained my drawing a day, invigorated all the more.

I decided to create photo albums by month and name each one in Cherokee to house my drawings (which eventually morphed into more than drawings; some were sketches, others were paintings in progress, and still others were smartphone doodles.)  The art album titles have the phrase “ᏏᎦ ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛ” (siga datlilosdv) in them accompanied by the month’s name and year.  In Cherokee, the phrase literally is talking about “measuring it again.” Terms for drawing and art in Cherokee such as ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏛ (datlilosdv - drawing) and ᏓᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ (datlilostanvhvsgi - artist) describe the making of art as measuring.  Imagine taking numerous intricate measurements along a line segment - deliberate and measured.  That is one Cherokee concept of art.  In this sense, I consider successfully drawing and posting one thousand drawings for one thousand consecutive days a measured and deliberate process - one in which I plan to continue.

I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes about art. The first one is from one of the masters of line in the Western world, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres (whose grave I visited while in grand ol’ Paris as a pilgrimage because I’m nerdy like that): “Drawing is the honesty of art.”

And the other one is from one of the world’s most underrepresented artists, my dad Roy Boney 1.0: “If you don’t draw, you’re not very happy. Draw because it makes you feel good.”  So my one-thousandth drawing might not be great, or even good.  The milestone itself isn’t even all the consequential, but by George (who?), I will draw with a smile.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Return of the Rentals

The Rentals released a new album this year called Return to Alphaville.  Listening to it feels like sitting down with an old friend and catching up after having not seen each other for years - which is apropos since it has been since 1999 since they released their last full album, Seven More Minutes. This isn't a review of that album or even the new one.  I don't think I could be objective enough to properly criticize it because of my attachment to the band's first album Return of the Rentals.  This is more like a memory review.  If that's even a thing...


I remember their “return” which marked the beginning of a long love affair for me with their power pop - the days when my friends and I would argue about the pronunciation of Moog.  In 1995, when my friendship with P. began - woo hoo hoo - I was a dumb sixteen year old.  I drove a 1980 baby blue Chevy pickup that had a dented door because a rodeo kid bumped into it with his giant F-350 but he never paid for its repair.  My musical palette veered between metal acts like Pantera, Slayer, and Anthrax to alt-rockers like Weezer, Nirvana, and Alice In Chains.  Weezer’s 1996 album Pinkerton would become an anthem of sorts for me, but before that album hit and fed my hormone soaked, adolescent doubts, Return of the Rentals was released and comforted the ennui of small town disillusionment.

The album colors a large part of my final high school years - the years in which we teens were supposed to become adults and take life by the horns.  These were the years in which I thought I fell in love when actually I was in clumsily-fumbling-with-naivety - epitomized by the night in which my second hand blazer and I never made it to the prom.  Broken hearts were left on blacktop backroads, and “Please Let That Be You” was the track of that night.  The Rentals wormed their way into my ears and into my gut.  The potent one-two punch of Return of the Rentals and Pinkerton served as the salve I needed before this geek would forever leave home for university and a new life.

So every now and then, when stressed by "the responsible life," I’ll queue up Return of the Rentals and imagine I’m in my own personal episode of The Wonder Years.  I don’t think my voice over would be as poignant as Kevin Arnold's, but I think the accompanying 90s soundtrack would be top notch.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

American Indian Art in Paris Nov 27 - Dec 2, 2012

ᎣᏏᏲ, ᏂᎦᏓ! I’m going to Paris.  I plan on seeing lots of stuff.: The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Jim Morrison’s grave, taking a train to London - you know, that kind of stuff.  And attend an art show, too.  Taken from the press release from Russ Tall Chief...


American Indian Art in Paris Nov 27 - Dec 2, 2012

Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture a’ l’eau
Paris, France

Fourteen American Indian and First Nations artists are cordially invited to exhibit in the 2012 Art en Capital~Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l’Eau, which will be celebrated November 27 ~ December 2, 2012, at the spectacular Grand Palais in Paris, France.

The Délégation Amérindienne represents the second delegation of Native artists ever to exhibit during this invitation-only event, which is one of the most prestigious art shows in the world. American Indian and First Nations artists invited to exhibit in the Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l’Eau will share their works with more than 40,000 visitors and fellow artists during the annual weeklong celebration in Paris.

For more than half a century, art lovers, collectors, gallery owners, and art connoisseurs from around the world have converged each year under the majestic glass ceiling of the immense Grand Palais to view masterworks by more than 2,000 artists.

Art on display and for sale in each of the five distinct salons is created by the artists specifically for the event. The Salon des Artistes Français, the Salon des Artistes Indépendants, Comparaisons, the Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l'eau, and the Société Nationale des Beaux-arts, offer a vastly insightful artistic dialogue among the vanguard of contemporary artistic visual voices.

The Délégation Amérindienne represents the North American continent once again this year in the Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l'eau, the event’s salon devoted exclusively to works in water- based paint on paper.

Featuring Ginette Adamson, Russ Tall Chief, Kayeri Akweks, Roy Boney, Jr., Joe Don Brave, Michael Chiago, Sr., Candace Curr, Anthony Deiter, Starr Hardridge, MaryBeth Nelson, Dionne Paul,  Drue Alexis Ridley, Marla Skye, Dana Tiger, Christie Tiger, & April White.

Thank you to the generous support of Les Debris Antiques, Art and Consignments in Oklahoma City, OK (, and Tribes 131 Indian Art Gallery in Norman, OK (

For more information, contact Russ Tall Chief at or call 405.651.8815. Visit the exhibit on Facebook at or visit the salon’s website at

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Intentions

I had fully intended to write a blog about my very first trip abroad, which was to Brisbane, Australia for the 2012 MyLanguage Conference in August.  Actually, I did write it (a draft is saved on my computer at home), but my grand plan was to have the blog interspersed with all the fascinating photos I took while in the great Down Under.  I took hundreds of photos and I soon lost myself in just sifting through all the magnificent pixels.  Let it be known, I took far too many pictures of koala bears.
Fast forward a month later, and I’m writing this entry aboard an A330 aircraft, operated by Delta Airlines en route to Rome Fiumicino.  It’s rather fun writing my thoughts down knowing full well that thousands of feet below lies the Atlantic Ocean.  I immediately imagine a fifteenth century map illuminated with sea-monsters.  I still have yet to post my Australian blog.  I swear, I really intend to post it.  I had also planned on writing about the trip to the Santa Fe Indian Art Market I took the week after I returned to the states, but unlike the Australian blog, I never did actually write anything of my Santa Fe adventure.  (It’s all just random sentences floating in me noggin’.)  I’m not exactly sure if I ever will write it even though it was an astounding trip.  I learned many lessons – professional, personal, and just all around practical.  Most importantly, for me, I came back a more confident artist, but that’s a discussion for another day.
So…the question on your mind may be, “Why the heck are you going to Italy, man?”

To which I would retort, “Good question!”
2012 has been an extraordinary year for me.  It’s been as dramatic as I’ve experienced in my short thirty-three years on Earth.  It’s been filled with spiritual decline and reclamation.  And there’s even been a few art shows scattered here and there despite it all, or maybe, more than likely, because of it.  I’m still in awe at what’s happened to me this year.  It would be no exaggeration to say that no other year of my life has caused so much upheaval in my perceptions than that of 2012. 
I know, I haven’t answered your question about why I’m going to Italy.  I’m attending the Fetzer Institute’s Global Gathering: The Pilgrimage of Love and Forgiveness.  I had the honor of being selected to participate by the Institute’s Advisory Council.  I will be eternally grateful for Dr. Loriene Roy, a member of the Council, as she is the one who nominated me as a participant for the event.  I don’t know if she knew it or not, but traveling to Italy was one of my lifelong dreams.  I vividly recall looking through second hand art books my grandmother would procure from thrift stores and the mission.  I remember the musty old smell of the paper.  Some of the older books’ pictures were actually small prints glued to the pages.  Italy was the place where some of the best art in world lived for this kid.  In my child’s brain, I wanted to see the art and eat a pizza.  Not much has changed since then.  Dreams are about to be fulfilled.    
As per the Gathering, I don’t claim to be a wise man, a philosopher, or even a person that has anything “figured out.”  I am still on the journey of searching, but as with many things in my life, I don’t think of the opportunity to participate in this event is by chance.  As I move further away from the decade of my twenties, years filled with overconfidence and overconfusion (is that even a word?), I am realizing just how much I really know of the world (a lot less than I thought), and I am just now arriving at the phase where I am beginning to enjoy the existential journey.  Questioning and searching and learning are no longer filled with such distress now.  I enjoy the wrinkling of my brain and the expanding of my heart.
So, let’s wrap up:  I suppose I should consider this a Pre-Blog.  I’m not actually in Italy yet.  I haven’t actually posted my Australian trip blog.  By the time you read this, I will have probably just finished slogging through customs and will just have gathered my luggage.  But this entry will be posted from Italy.  But it was all written in the spirit of “intentions.” 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Schedule...Getting back into it.

I've traveled over 30,000 miles in three weeks. I feel like concourse numbers are tattooed into my palm. Despite it all, I still have Americana burned into my soul.