October 04, 2006

"Indianpreneur" battles kitschy art

Artist seeks to redefine genreChris Rowland didn't like what he saw when searching the Internet for Native American art, primarily the kitschy posters selling at "bargain prices."

"Ninety-percent of it is not even Native American art," said Rowland, a Northern Cheyenne artist. "I'm trying to redefine Native American art while looking at ways to market that art."

Rowland's use of the Internet to introduce his work to the world as true Native American art may be a novel concept.

In fact, his Web page caught the attention of the State Tribal Economic Development Council, which launched its new "Indianpreneur" site last week using Rowland as its first featured artist.

"They liked how I was marketing myself," Rowland said. "The Indianpreneur thing--I thought that was a really good move. It puts us in another class and I'm honored."

The state agency will use its new site to promote Native American artists working in Montana. The hope is to create new economic opportunities for Indians and reservation-based businesses.
Comment:  Nice idea, but the author has overstated the use of the Internet as a "novel concept." Hundreds if not thousands of genuine Native artists have set up websites already to sell their work.


Chris Rowland said...

I really don't think that you can make an "overstatement" when it comes to marketing Native America Rob. It's not about just having your stuff on the web otherwise he would have interviewed my web guy...
It's about culture, when Indians here in Montana see that I'm in the paper, It ecourages them. They say: "There is one of us who is doing it!" It's for the whole. The statement he made becomes more than just a statement you see,especially since a majority of the population here in Helena would rather see us back on the rez than walking around here in broad daylight...
It's simple; you have to sweet talk em.(the public) And leave in all of the truths. The Old way of marketing has a defeatist tonality to it. You Rob,are looking at it from a non-Indian's viewpoint,with comparisons and linear thinking. Cut it out right now ! LOL
the whole point of the article is to get Native American Artists to understand the possibilities. To make more of a presence in the whitemans world, to shoot to the top. You know, kind of like that Native American Super Hero... Except that the concepts can be real!!!!!!
Not just fantasy.
I love your work by the way.
Thanks for listening.

Rob said...

Well, I'm doing my part to promote the Native arts here. (But not uncritically, of course.) If your website encourages Native artists to think big, I'm all for it. And if my Native-themed comics encourage Natives to do such comics also, I'll all for that too. (As long as they don't steal my audience, of course.)

Anyway, good to hear from you, Chris. Stick around and join our discussions!