Carver or Painter? Hopi Artist Randy Dukepoo Is Both [10 Pictures]

Carver or Painter? Hopi Artist Randy Dukepoo Is Both [10 Pictures]

Lee Allen

Hopi First Mesa artist Randy Dukepoo doesn’t like to be typecast.  “It’s hard to say what I’m specifically known for, but to label myself as a carver or painter or weaver or what have you, that’s not something I want to do.  I don’t want to limit myself because I do several things and don’t want to limit future efforts by calling myself one specific talent.”

You work in so many media -- which is your favorite?

I love carving because I like how you can just peel away the wood and there’s a doll inside just ready to come out.  When I carve, I like to take my time and enjoy the process.  I don’t want to get caught up in the commercialized hurry-up-and-finish mentality.  My dad always told me you’re happy when you’re doing what you want to do, so I sing and have fun while I carve and things turn out better.  And when finished items come out better, more people want to buy them.

You paint as well -- what's your approach to that discipline?

All my paintings are based on life experiences and with a mother from the kachina clan and a father from the deer/flute clan, there’s a lot of material to work with.  My paintings have a vibrancy to them because I put life and energy into my artwork.  I work with a lot of contemporary techniques like airbrush, varnish and acrylics because things dry faster and I can just keep working on a painting that dries as I move along.

How do you balance the traditional and contemporary?

I use traditional designs exclusively, but I add a well-thought-out contemporary touch.  It doesn’t make sense to just cram things together, just keep them in balance.  I try to keep my paintings bright and colorful based on inspirations from Hopi life.  There’s so much that happens with our people and my works reflect the life Hopis live.

What do you hope your art can do for those who see or buy it?

Again I refer to my dad’s teachings to be happy and sing and your artwork will turn out nice.  If you have pent-up negative emotions inside your body, they will come out in your work.  You want your craftsmanship to be positive so it will brighten up a purchasers day and help them live a happier life because you’ve put more joy in it.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
My congratulations to Mr. Dukepoo. His art is exemplary and I love his attitude about how he approaches it. Thanks for a fine article about an interesting human being.


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