From evocative Native American portraits to detailed depictions of natural world, a lot of Linda Kukuk’s artworks are outlined much less by what she provides than by what she takes away.
That is as a result of the self-taught Oklahoma artist is finest recognized for her scratchwork, a type of engraving wherein pictures are created by rigorously scratching away on the prime coating of darkish ink on a scratchboard to disclose the layer of white clay beneath.
“I assumed it was simply an attention-grabbing medium in that the best way you place the scratches, what sort of scratches, what software you employ, all determines what the result’s. After I would take a look at my photograph reference, it was enjoyable to me to … say, ‘OK, I wish to make pores and skin. How do I make that?'” she mentioned.
“After I’m at a present … I sit and do the scratchwork, as a result of, for me, it is quite a bit simpler to clarify it in case you can present folks.”
Kukuk will get the prospect to create, present and promote her scratchwork, watercolors and different artwork on the thirty sixth annual Pink Earth Pageant, the place she has been named the 2022 Pink Earth Honored One, an award yearly bestowed on a Native American grasp visible artist.
“I used to be very stunned and thrilled to be acknowledged. I do work exhausting on my artwork. Ever since I used to be slightly child, I’ve all the time drawn and painted … however I by no means took any classes. So, I’ve all the time labored to only develop it and experiment with it,” mentioned Kukuk, who’s Choctaw and Cherokee.
“I do know it is a present from God, and I do not wish to waste it. I do not wish to throw that expertise away. So, to be recgnized to your efforts is simply superb.”
Lengthy-running Pink Earth Pageant strikes to new time-frame and venue
The Pink Earth Pageant is shifting to a brand new time-frame and venue this 12 months. The long-running intertribal celebration of Native American visible artwork, dance and tradition is about for June 30-July 2 — which is July Fourth weekend — on the Nationwide Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
“We really feel like we have lastly discovered a house once more … so we’re very excited,” mentioned Christy Alcox, Pink Earth Inc. director of improvement and administration.
For the higher a part of three many years, the Pink Earth Pageant occurred on the Cox Conference Heart in downtown OKC. With the completion of the brand new Oklahoma Metropolis Conference Heart, the Cox Conference Heart was closed in 2020 and transformed to Prairie Surf Studios, a movie and tv manufacturing hub.
Throughout the previous two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was organized on the Citizen Potawatomi Nation-owned Grand On line casino Resort & Resort in Shawnee, however the transfer to the Nationwide Cowboy Museum brings Pink Earth again to OKC. (The competition’s fashionable Pink Earth Parade shifted final 12 months to its new Pink Earth FallFest, an Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in downtown OKC.)
What can folks count on from this 12 months’s Pink Earth Pageant?
The competition will characteristic tribal dance showcases, Native American cultural demonstrations and hands-on arts and crafts at The Cowboy, the place lots of the actions can be staged outdoors within the immersive new family-friendly attraction Liichokoshkomo’, named for the Chickasaw phrase for “Let’s play.”
Every day competition admission wristbands for July 1-2 are $15 per particular person, and youngsters youthful than 6 are admitted free with a paid grownup. Pageant admission contains entrance to the Nationwide Cowboy Museum and Pink Earth actions.
“With the mixed expertise of the museum and this nice competition, guests will really really feel immersed within the histories and cultures of the American West,” mentioned museum President and CEO Natalie Shirley in an announcement. “Artwork from the fiftieth Prix de West, the museum’s premier Western artwork exhibition and sale, may even be on show in the course of the competition, giving guests added alternatives to see a number of the most interesting fashionable Western artwork available on the market as we speak.”
The Pink Earth Artwork Market can be arrange within the museum’s Sam Noble Particular Occasions Heart, the place a particular preview reception is about for six:30 to 9 p.m. June 30.
“It is such a stunning venue for something, however I believe it’s going to exhibit our artwork. … And if folks wish to make an enormous day of it, they’ll get in and see the entire museum, too,” mentioned Kukuk, who has been exhibiting her work on the competition since 2007.
Self-taught OKC artist embraces ‘unforgiving’ scratchwork method
A lifelong OKC space resident, Kukuk, 76, has been taking part in artwork reveals for the reason that Nineteen Sixties.
She was first drawn to scratchwork on the previous Shepherd Mall, the place she noticed Native American portraits one other artist had created utilizing the method.
“I mentioned, ‘What’s that?’ and she or he advised me what she used — at the moment, most individuals simply used an X-Acto knife with the No. 11 blade — and I discovered a number of the scratchboard and I began experimenting with it,” mentioned Kukuk, who was largely doing acrylic work and pen-and-ink drawings at the moment. “I used to be dreadful at first. My early items, I’ve ran throughout a few of them that I even offered and I am embarrassed now. However that is the place I began.”
She discovered extra time to pursue her inventive ambitions after she retired in 2002 as chief of the commander’s protocol workplace at Tinker Air Drive Base, the place she labored for 38 years. She began experimenting with watercolors and started combining them along with her scratchwork to deliver brilliant colours to the in any other case black-and-white items.
Kukuk will present a number of of her new scratchwork and watercolor items within the upcoming group exhibit “Blue: Nature’s Rarest Coloration,” which can be on view July 8-Aug. 21 within the Myriad Botanical Gardens’ Crystal Bridge Artwork Gallery.
“It (scratchwork) has its personal personal character. You sort of need to work with it to determine whether or not it’s going to allow you to do one thing,” she mentioned, detailing the challenges of depicting a royal blue peacock for the present.
A signature member of the Worldwide Society of Scratchboard Artists, Kukuk mentioned she nonetheless enjoys the problem of scratchwork, particularly since she takes on a large vary of material, from homey nonetheless lifes to photorealistic wildlife portraits. She and her husband, Rick, a retired company pilot, have traveled extensively all through Africa, Europe, Russia and the South Pacific, experiences which have offered her with ample inventive inspiration.
“I branched out in 2016 and began including abstracts to my portfolio … in watercolor,” she mentioned. “Abstracts for me are like a time to take a breather as a result of scratchwork is so unforgiving, and delicate and up-close. … When you get your scratches going the improper course, even in case you put spray ink again in with an airbrush, that scratch remains to be gonna be there. Imagine me, I’ve tried to right errors, however I am not often happy.”
However she credited her 15 years of exhibiting on the Pink Earth Pageant with not solely inspiring her Native American art work but additionally with serving to her hook up with her heritage. She has works on view on the Choctaw Nation headquarters and Choctaw Nation On line casino in Durant and illustrated Doreen Rappaport’s 2019 youngsters’s e-book “Wilma’s Manner Residence: The Lifetime of Chief Wilma Mankiller,” concerning the late trailblazing Cherokee chief.
“It’s what jump-started my profession. It truly is, as a result of what occurred then is I discovered concerning the issues that I may become involved in … And I did it not realizing how a lot it may do for me spiritually even simply assembly so many Native American folks,” she mentioned.
thirty sixth annual Pink Earth Pageant
When: June 30-July 2.
The place: Nationwide Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63.
Pageant hours: 9 a.m. to five p.m. July 1-2.
Artwork preview and reception: 6:30 to 9 p.m. June 30. Tickets are $75.
Tickets: Every day normal admission wristbands are $15; two-day passes are $25. Youngsters youthful than 6 admitted free with paid grownup.
Tickets and knowledge:https://www.redearth.org/redearth-festival.
‘Blue: Nature’s Rarest Coloration’
When: July 8-Aug. 21.
The place: Myriad Botanical Gardens Crystal Bridge Artwork Gallery, 301 W Reno.
Opening reception: 5:30 to six:30 p.m. July 8.
Artists: Linda Kukuk, Dennis Burian, Martha Burger, Amber Casper, JD Epperson, Kristen Gentry, Debby Kaspari, Kurt McDaniel, Jerry Piper, Krysta Quinn, Amanda Marie Reich, Kyndall Rainey, Connie Rish, Lauren Rucker, Adrienne Wright and Janice Yeary.
For extra on Linda Kukuk: https://lindakukuk.com.