Day 129: Tracy Tohannie

I am Navajo, born in Tubac City and raised in Tonalea, both small rural communities on the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona. I’ve always loved art since childhood. Watching my older brothers’ draw as a child is what inspired to pursue art. Later, I was influenced by other local Navajo artisans, like, Redwing Nez, and the Whitethornes (Baje Sr., Elizabeth, Billy and Edward).

I am very intrigued by the way color, texture and lines affect viewers when applied to canvas in a certain way. I always aim to achieve this in my paintings by using exaggerated and contrasting colors and use dynamic lines and brush strokes. I like to experiment with different mediums because I don’t want to limit myself to one. I use oil and acrylic paints mostly, rarely watercolors. My preliminary sketches are always in pencil. I also use colored pencils, pens and ink.

My theme in art is Beauty Way. In traditional Navajo philosophy, we believe in the concept of duality. There are two types of teaching children are taught; Protection/Warrior Way and the Beauty Way. With the protection way, a child is taught to challenge himself or herself physically and mentally so they can withstand and overcome all obstacles life offers. On the other hand, Beauty Way is taught by being positive, courteous, respectful to oneself and others, and to appreciate all life. Our elders say, “Through Beauty Way, good things will be abundant if practiced properly.”  It is also said that a person of anguish can heal through Beauty Way. Every person in this world has some kind of problem, big or small, be it emotional, social or physical. I depict my subject matters in a way to lighten a person’s day or moment. I like to believe that my art touches people in a good way and bring joy to them by using this holistic Navajo concept.

Horse From My Dream
Canyon Thunder
Running Trio
Running Trio 2

2 thoughts on “Day 129: Tracy Tohannie

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