Post by Vera Marie
Many people who buy Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist are enthusiastic about their purchases, but two people who bought the book when I was at the Heard Museum weekend before last were particularly happy.
Artist Beverly Blacksheep, who says she was influenced by Tahoma, had seen the book at the Késhmish festival at Window Rock last December. That’s where we first met, and I bought one of her beautiful creations as a Christmas gift for Charnell. Then, at the Heard where she was once again showing her creations, she decided to buy a copy of our book.
Of course, Beverly was happy, but Phyllis, the other purchaser, was — well, I don’t think ecstatic is too strong a term. I was sitting in the beautiful Heard Museum courtyard just outside the Book Store when Phyllis made a beeline for my table, put a hand over her heart and said something to the effect that this was her lucky day.
It turns out that Phyllis, who grew up in Ohio as Charnell and I did, had read Arizona Highways as a youngster. (Her mother had a subscription.) And she never forgot the paintings of Quincy Tahoma, Harrison Begay and others of that era that were reproduced in Highways in the early 50s.
In fact, the paintings influenced her decision to study art and influenced her style. Although some teachers criticized her for having too simple an approach, she stuck to her guns, loving the color and simplicity of the Studio-trained artists.
She never thought she would have the opportunity to see so many Tahoma paintings. As you probably know by now, the book is crammed with images–260, many of which are full-color photographs of Tahoma paintings. She stood and told me her story, and lovingly caressed the book, finally saying, “Well, I have to buy it!”
Then she went off in search of Beverly Blacksheep, whose work she also loves. She returned to the bookstore after the books had been returned to their display inside the store, and we got this nice shot of her celebrating what felt for her like a “homecoming” with one of her favorite artists–one who changed her life.
If you are an artist inspired by Tahoma, or if you know of a contemporary artist inspired by Tahoma, please do get in touch. We love to share those stories as a testimony to the lasting influence of this outstanding Navajo artist.
(And Phyllis, if you happen to be reading this, I lost your card–so would you please e-mail me with your contact information? Thanks.)