Fred was exposed to art early on when he watched his mother weave rugs and his father create sand paintings.
When his mother taught weaving at a college in Flagstaff, Arizona, little Fred accompanied her to class, where he amused himself with paper and pencils; babysitters were too expensive.
Later, he, and two other young artists went to Chicago, to study at the American Academy of Art, his only formal training.
A consummate draughtsman, Fred Cleveland has won numerous awards for his work from the Heard Museum, Philbrook Museum of Indian Art show, and many others.
In 1972 he won the Grand Award in Art at the Navajo Tribal Fair, an award that, as a proud Navajo, he prizes above most others.
This captivating painting portrays the reality of Navajo life as he lived it; one foot in traditional life, one foot in contemporary, non-Native life.
As a resident of New Mexico, the artist knows, and celebrates, the singular event of Balloon Fiesta – an annual gathering of hundreds of hot-air balloons from all over the world.
Here, against a realistic (sic!) New Mexico sunset, he has imagined a mother and children watching both the glorious display by Nature and the wondrous, man-made show.
Brilliant color, wonderful perspective, and accurate portrayal of the old-style blankets and the various balloons, impressively display his keen observation and confident artistry.
How can you pass this by? It is far superior to a tee-shirt, as a souvenir of Balloon Fiesta, and costs not much more.
Besides, it is a powerfully beautiful painting, by a recognized artist, ready to frame or display as it is.