Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Yatika Starr Fields

By Jessica R. Metcalfe

Flowers-20

Flowers, 2008, Oil on canvas, 44 x 42 inches, Courtesy of the artist

The son of artists Tom and Anita Fields, Yatika Starr Fields (Cherokee/Creek/Osage) began making art as a young child. While attending the Art Institute of Boston from 2000 to 2003, he became interested in graffiti aesthetics, which was integral to his knowledge of painting and continues to influence his large-scale projects. Fields currently lives in New York City, and the energy of urban life inspires and feeds the creative force in his artwork. He seeks to influence his viewers to rethink and reshape their relationships to the world around them. Much of his work reflects intuitive interpretations or

BKLYN Backyard, 2007, Oil on canvas, 53 x 69 inches, Courtesy of the artist

BKLYN Backyard, 2007, Oil on canvas, 53 x 69 inches, Courtesy of the artist

organic theories of power of place by utilizing opposites and animation, but also serves to connect one place to another.

Fields merges opposites: in one painting he combines anthropomorphic forms with inanimate objects and in another he imagines elaborate urban nature landscapes. In Collision on Central Park (2008), the bodies of horses swirl among architectural forms as Fields imagines what would happen if the park horses were released onto the busy city streets. His compositions are sometimes spontaneous and left open for interpretation so that multiple stories can be drawn from them. His kaleidoscopic imagery, with its dynamic pop culture aesthetic, references both historical and contemporary themes. His work has been likened to abstract, surrealist and futurist painting. He frequently uses spray paint, demonstrating how popular culture, graffiti art and hip-hop or alternative music complement the Indian art world.

Fields, whose first name is Creek (Yv’tekv) and means interpreter, animates his landscapes by infusing them with power and emotion. His canvasses are alive with movement and filled with images that rely on vibrant colors and swirling patterns to build narratives that dazzle the eye. Some of his paintings, such as Fox on the Field (2009), incorporate repetitious design elements and prints to draw the viewer in. He also participates in live art collaborations with artists such as Doug Miles, Micah Wesley and lately, the New York Art Battles collective. The synergistic artwork created at music and skateboarding events conveys communal and individual autonomy. These works on canvas, he explains, draw off of the beat of the music and infuse rhythm into the final painting.

Aspects of nature, such as insects, flowers and birds, convey the sense of energy derived from both the city life and his youth in rural Oklahoma. In BKLYN Backyard (2007), a wasp drinks water in the center of the canvas while vivid colors swirl outward, and in Flowers (2008), bees, petals and acorns dance around the canvas in an orchestrated design. Three Birds (2006) derives from several influences including the red dirt water of Oklahoma, the Native American Church water bird and the repeating patterns of the fashion industry. Winged creatures, Fields points out, have the ability to represent the power of a place, but also to connect one place to another through their mobility.

Additional Resources compiled by Students in the Contemporary Native American Art History course at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Spring 2013

Web-based Resources & Selected Bibliography

 ArtSlant, “Yatika Starr Fields.” 2006-2012. http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/68218-yatika-starr-fields?tab=PROFILE.

ArtSlant is an amazing art website, which features the artist’s profile, exhibit history, networks, reviews, comments and pictures of the artist’s artwork.

 LovettsGallery. “Yatika Starr Fields Time-Lapse.” YouTube. YouTube, 05 Jan. 2011. Web. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZ_5owc6as.

This is a time-lapse video of Yatika Starr Fields painting Something Cosmic during the Inside/Outside live painting demonstration and exhibition at Lovetts Gallery on 12/11/10.

 Starr-Fields, Yatika. “Yatika Starr Fields.” Yatika Starr Fields. Yatika Starr Fields, 2012. Web. http://www.yatikastarrfields.com/.

This is the artist’s personal website that provides information to the artist’s work, current news updates, resume, and other links.