Slickest in the Southwest – Damian Jim: Featured on 1121South.net

Our very own Damian Jim is the featured artist for 1121South.net blog.

Check out this great article about Damian’s work, accomplishments, inspiration, and journey!

Slickest in the Southwest

 

Slickest in the Southwest – Damian Jim

Who are you?
My name is Damian Jim, I’m a Dine artist and graphic designer from the 4 corners region.
My clans are Deer Springs for the Ute People Division of Red Running into the Water, and my grandparents are both from the Many Goats Clan.
Where are you based?
I’m currently based out of Phoenix, Arizona.

What is your background as an artist?
I’m a self-taught artist, with a degree in graphic design.  I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil, with my teachers lending me support in elementary school with a school newspaper beat drawing advertisements.  In high school, I garnered an award nationally as well as being recognized for my contributions by the school.
I received my degree in graphic design, and started working for Blue Mountain Trading Post in Blanding, Utah, and later on Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff, Utah. My job involved collaborating with the premier Dine basket and rug weavers in Southeastern Utah in producing geometric, pictorial, and abstract images that were then produced on fibered media.
This work helped many artists to win awards nationally and helped to inspire a resurgence in Dine basketry, as well as produced many articles and books on printed media and video.  I also had my first museum show right around this time, which inspired me to start participating in local art markets.
I was also able to win awards at Gallup Ceremonials with my own paintings during this time, and eventually I progressed into web media and helping to acknowledge and promote other native artists.
Currently I work fulltime, run a gallery in Phoenix, produce paintings and digital media, and work part time on Ziindi, an indigenous contemporary art zine.
How would you explain your creations in 4 words?
Indigenous, Vibrant, Provocative, Verve.

Where does your vision come from and what do you hope to accomplish? 
My vision comes from the infinite depths of my imagination.  My art is the focus of this journey, and the image of the artist as an icon is dead.  I use visuals from print and video media to shape my paintings.  My canvases speak of my experiences from growing up on the reservation and the racism/tribalism that has pervaded my life while growing up.  I also use universal ideas on life, Dine creation stories, Dine symbolism, and writing in Dine and English in my work.
My hope is to not only help to inspire young artists, but to cultivate an Indigenous community free of stereotypes and bravado.  It is only when we can see beyond ourselves that we can unite and elevate the proletariat.

When you were young, did you ever imagine your work would inspire and motivate so many people?
I never started doing art hoping to achieve fame; working for fame only inspires hate, jealousy, and mistrust in people.  My current work with Ziindi has been a constant mission that I have used in various incarnations.  Starting off with teaching graphic design to Summer school kids, and doing motivational talks about my work, that helped to start a positive trend in community involvement with young artists.  From working with 4natives.com, to working with Native American connections, I’ve always wanted to give back to the Indigenous community, mostly because I know how harsh growing up on the Reservations can be when you’re young.  If my work can help to inspire and motivate the youth, that is just one step to changing the dynamics that govern our lives.

Could you please give our viewers some information about where they can see/purchase your work?
I have my website DamianJim.com, which has links to my deviant art account at damianjim.deviantart.com, and my facebook page facebook.com/damianjim, has the latest works in progress as well as finished pieces.
My work is currently represented at 1Spot Gallery on Roosevelt and 6th Street in downtown Phoenix: 918 N 6th Street, Unit B, Phoenix, AZ 85004 – 602 281-0697, facebook.com/ziindigallery

"Grounded"
"Feed The Beast"
"The Fire Inside"
"The Red Queen's Domain"
"Red Fever"
"Where Spiders Sleep"

"Violent Heart"
"Fire Shaman"

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