June 4, 2013

Artist Profile | Michael Adams

One of the Beyond Buckskin Boutique's newest artists is Michael Adams. Born on the Hopi reservation and surrounded by culture and art, Adams was inspired to create his own style with jewelry. He looks to his parents for inspiration; his mother is a Hopi/Tewa potter and his father is a Katsina doll carver.

He hand-cuts, shapes, and then paints a unique design on each pair of earrings. He explained, "I love to incorporate color and Hopi symbolism into my designs all referencing nature." Click below to read our interview with him.

BB: When and why did you start creating jewelry?
MA: I started creating jewelry early 2012. I had been inspired and practiced art in drawing, carving, and painting, before I came upon jewelry. Earrings and jewelry in particular have been my canvas and also have given me the chance to accessorize my wife's outfits as she serves as a beautiful model for my work.

BB: Describe the general process you go through to create your work.
MA: The process I go through to prepare my earrings involves cutting out each pair with a scroll saw. I sand each earring and make sure they are a similar size. Then, I paint my designs utilizing my cultural knowledge of Hopi symbolism. As an artist, preserving cultural traditions and knowledge is a value I work to protect. I use my own creativity to combine new mediums with traditional symbols. I finish each earring with a layer of lacquer to protect the paint.

BB: What or who is your inspiration?
MA: My biggest inspirations come from my family, especially the members in my culture who continue to support and make a living off their artwork. My mother, who raised my siblings and I from her work as a pottery artist, serves as a huge inspiration for what I do.

BB: What does 'Native fashion' mean to you?
MA: From my perspective, there is a very narrow representation of what Native Fashion is in the mainstream, therefore I look to use my work and design as a means of teaching and adding to a growing market. The Native designers who have come before me and set the stage for an emerging Native Fashion market are who I respect. I admire artists that offer a fresh perspective on a medium while maintaining connections to their traditions.

BB: What is your favorite quote or life motto?
MA: "The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it." – Debbi Fields

BB: What is something that a lot of people don’t know, but should know, about your tribe?
MA: Something that people don't know about my community is the love of running and farming that occurs daily. It is true to always find someone running a dirt trail up the steep mesas or see an individual cutting the weeds under the hot sun in the middle of the summer. We are a people with much appreciation for the life that exists around us.

Click here to shop Michael Adams' collection at the Beyond Beyond Boutique.