Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

July 24, 2012

Elizondo pursuing a love of art

TAHLEQUAH — While growing up in Tahlequah, Michael Elizondo Jr.’s interests were sports and nature. Today, he works as full-time artist-in-residence of the Jacobson House Native Arts Center in Norman.

Elizondo moved to Tahlequah when his father enrolled as a student at Northeastern State University. He started second grade at Woodall School, and graduated in 2003 from Sequoyah High School.

Art has always been part of his life.

“I do not remember starting,” he said. “It has always been something I have enjoyed doing. When I was a child, I remember sneaking into my grandpas tool shed and playing with his art supplies. When my dad was going to school at NSU, he was an art student, and I used to play with all of his paints, and even rub my hands through his fresh oil paintings. These were not things they were happy about at the time, but that’s how I got my start.”

He also enjoyed being in the country and going to the area rivers and lakes.

“What made Tahlequah a great place for me to grow up was if I ever got bored, I was always able to keep myself occupied, whether it was running, swimming, cruising,” Elizondo said. “Or if I wanted the quiet time I would do my art.”

When he was in Tahlequah, most of his time was spent playing sports.

“As a kid, me and my brothers, Tony and Jeff, were always playing soccer, basketball, and running. When I was in high school, I gave basketball one more shot but I decided to dedicate the rest of my time to cross country and track,” he said. “This led me to Oklahoma Baptist University’s cross country and track team.”

During his time at OBU, in Shawnee, he decided to pursue art as a career. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts At Oklahoma Baptist University, and a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma in May 2011.

For the past 14 months, he’s been working as a full-time artist, and has held his post at the Jacobson House since last August.

“During my residency, I have been given a studio space to help further my artistic practices and have began to exhibit outside the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “I have recently been offered an adjunct position to instruct a few art courses at Bacone College this fall.”

Since he’s established in Oklahoma City, he plans to commute twice a week to Bacone.

His visits to Tahlequah are “sporadic and short-lived.”

“I miss being around all of the friends I grew up with and the high school friends who were from around the state and country,” he said.

While he doesn’t like to choose favorite teachers, he credits Sam Horsechief for helping him prepare for college and life beyond high school.

Family, history, and other artists inspire him.

“I have dabbled in a number of mediums, but what has consistently attracted me the longest has been painting and drawing,” he sad. “My styles vary, because I get bored if I do one thing for too long. So, I try to keep myself open to anything, because I enjoy the growth in exploration and experimentation.”

Although his styles and subject matter are constantly evolving, he finds most of his work falls into two directions: identity and the influence of socio-political history.

“If I am going to do an exhibit or a show that can be interpreted in a number of ways, I will throw in a portrait and a semi-abstracted piece. Whatever I do, I try to keep the pieces linked together in some kind of way when they are in one exhibition,” he said. “If I am invited to take part in a portrait exhibition, I will send some of my portraits. If I am invited to an exhibition that involves Native American or just socio-political history in general, I will respond whatever way I feel is necessary. I try to keep myself open to all of those options.”

He has always felt that art is his calling.

“I have taken consideration in other professions, but I have always known this would be my path,” he said.

Competitions he has won include a juried art exhibition at the Jacobson House twice; the Fred Jones Museum of Art; T.G. Mays Purchase award in the 97th Annual OU Students Exhibition; the Outstanding Young Artist at the Red Cloud Indian School Heritage Center in Pine Ridge, S.D.; and honorable mention at the Tulsa Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still exhibition.

In March, he was in an exhibition in Santa Ynez, Calif., called “Portraits of a People,” and he’s preparing a piece for an exhibition at the, “All My Relations” Gallery in St. Paul, Minn., called “De Unkiyepi – We Are Here.”

His professional goals are to keep pushing his art work toward a national level.

Michael plans to marry Dayrah Yellowfish, mother of his daughter, next May. His mother is Lou Ann Chouteau, and he has a sister, Michelle Chouteau. His dad, Michael Elizondo Sr., and niece, Jacy Elizondo, still live in Tahlequah.

1
Text Only
Features
  • wherearethey.jpg Padilla enjoys reconnecting with childhood

    As a child spending time at her grandparents’ house, with all her aunts, uncles, and cousins around her, Kerrie (Bosley) Padilla spent endless hours outside playing chase, catching fireflies, or writing and acting out plays.
    In 1987, after her dad got out of the Navy, the family moved here from Georgia to be closer to that family: matriarch Dorothy Monzingo, and maternal grandparents Dorothy and Dwight Allen. Her parents, DeAnna and Steve Edwards – as well as a couple of siblings and some aunts, uncles and cousins – still live here.
    Eventually, Padilla graduated from Northeastern State University, and then its College of Optometry.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Dream1.jpg Dream Theatre spotlights songwriters

    Dreams can come true for local aspiring songwriters who seek to gain performance experience.
    For one young musician, Thursday night was an unexpected dream of discovery, as well.
    Two opportunities are available to musicians at the Dream Theatre each month, the new Songwriters’ Showcase which opened Thursday night and Premier Night for musicians who have a few songs or a set, but not a whole show.
    In search of the groove that works for The Dream, Manager Larry Clark is partnering with Blake Turner, Lakes Country operation manager.
    The Songwriters’ Showcase, which will continue the third Thursday of the month in conjunction with Tahlequah Main Street Association’s Third Thursday Art Walk downtown, features seasoned performers who can share some of their personal insights into the how, when and why of their songwriting experiences.

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals

    One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.

    April 17, 2014

  • rf-Zoe-thing.jpg Conference attendees get words of encouragement

    Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
    Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks