This young (33 years old) artist is part of an exhibition of decorated skateboards, at the museum of Arizona State University, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree; he is also a significant graffiti artist, in the Phoenix area.
Oh, and has won awards at Santa Fe Indian Market, has work in museum collections, and is cited as an emerging, significant fine artist, as well.
His paintings are full of unusual and lovely color, great sense of depth and movement, and incorporate expertly painted realism and swirling abstraction.
They achieve a kind of contemporary magical realism, since the inspiration lies in his profound connection to Navajo ceremonies, and those of the Native American Church.
This large and gorgeously hued painting features mountains at the top. Four sacred mountains traditionally form the borders of Navajo lands.
At the bottom right, a finely detailed hummingbird is shown in full flight.
The artist is quoted as saying, “In Dine’ Culture the humming bird (sic) represents the Essence of Life. The humming bird came from the second world and made a connection with pollen which the Dine’ people utilized to make offerings in Beauty Way ceremonies.
When the humming bird flies it is shaped like the moon crescent and rainbow representing the cycles of our life, the seasons, our emotions, our accomplishments, choices, balance, discipline and sense of self respect and self dignity.
The humming bird is also a representation of beauty all around us, beneath us, and above us when we walk on this corn pollen road called life.”
Certainly, in this painting, there is beauty in every direction.
Rectangles zoom out from the mountains, at the right, in thrilling three dimensions. The sense of depth and space is extraordinary.
The reds and greens of these forms are tempered with yellow and gold, so the earth, crops, and the sun are all represented.
Two spangled orbs float at the ends of some of the rectangular planes, perhaps representing the Second World of the Navajo creation story, and our world.
At the top, seeming part of the mountain range, is an abstract eagle head, (or is it merely an abstract swirl of black and tan against apple green?)
Between the two orbs, another bird head is suggested, or -again – maybe not.
The background whirls and flows with multicolored, wonderful brushwork.
It is a complex suggestion of the energetic formlessness of the world’s beginning; also, absolutely breathtaking painting technique.
Two borders of lines and squares contrast with this beautiful formlessness, echoing the rigorous geometry of those flat planes, jutting toward us from the mountains.
The squares glow, against the blackness of space. They are calibrated in color from red to gold, on the left, and from soft fuschia to pale yellows, on the bottom right.
A seamlessly painted border of matching red to gold, marks the left margin of the painting, while a similar line is near the squares.
Below, another narrow line exhibits the same blended hues, with a series of short, vertical, and parallel lines that would seem to refer to rainfall.
There is so much to see in this astonishing painting, you will find something new each time you look at it.
It is a virtuoso piece of artistry, resplendent with glorious color, brushwork, and composition.
It is also, an amazing expression of Garrett’s deep respect and affection for his tribal traditions and ceremonies.
Outstanding in every way, this is a gorgeous, significant piece by an artist who is becoming significant, indeed.