A real renaissance man, this artist is a master jeweler, painter and carver; potter, teacher, community leader, mentor and innovator.
He showed exceptional talent at an early age, and was singled out to study with Charles Loloma – the Picasso of Indian jewelry, who broke the barrier of traditional design, materials and techniques. He also studied with Lloyd New, a founder of the Institute of American Indian Art, working in textiles. Offered an insufficient scholarship to study at the Chicago Art Institute, he parlayed that grant into three years at the Rochester Institute of Technology, studying silversmithing at their School of American Crafts.
Back home at Zuni, he operated his own arts and crafts store for many years, while taking a leadership role in tribal affairs. His jewelry was acknowledged with many prizes, and examples are in the Smithsonian Museum. He has paintings in the Phillips Collection of Indian art in Tulsa, President Johnson presented one of Roger’s necklaces to the Queen of the Netherlands, and his work is in countless private collections.
He is considered one of the early innovators in Indian art – jewelry, especially – one who helped to forge new ways of thinking about what Native jewelry, etc. was supposed to look like.