Self-taught, but from a family of fine weavers and bead workers, Bennie has achieved fame as an award-winning painter of powerful, intricately detailed, acrylic paintings of Plains warriors. He is at home in different media, but his compelling portraits are best-known.
Yellowman’s older son, Benjamin Nelson, is an award-winning artist in his own right, and has been since early childhood. Malachi, the younger son, is an actor. To round out the family’s artistic genes, brother L. Eugene Nelson is an award-winning jeweler.
Although a Navajo, Yellowman usually paints themes derived from his wife’s Kiowa heritage. The close-ups of fierce yet dignified warriors in full regalia are so realistic in every detail that they go beyond realism.