Celebration and Persistence of Culture: Michael Elizondo, Momentum Tulsa Artist

October 22, 2015

Momentum |

Today on the blog we feature the work of Momentum Tulsa 2015 artist Michael Elizondo Jr. This post is part of our series on Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s Momentum Tulsa 2015. Momentum Tulsa is on display through October 23 at Living Arts Tulsa. The closing reception and spotlight artist talks will be held October 23, 6pm.

A native of Oklahoma, Michael Elizondo Jr. received his BFA from Oklahoma Baptist University (2008) and his MFA at the University of Oklahoma (2011). Following his passion for art, he maintains a studio practice and is an adjunct at the University of Central Oklahoma’s College Fine Arts & Design program.

Tell us a bit about your work in this year’s Momentum Tulsa.

I have two paintings that are in Momentum and they are a part of two separate bodies of work. Unperished is a part of a more recent series that I have been working on over the past few years. These works are much more abstract and are inspired from the use of story-telling through symbolism and pattern. The roots of this inspiration came from bead work, done by my grandmother, which embellished Cheyenne cradleboards and moccasins. Throughout the years, I have always been fascinated by how those symbols and patterns can cover topics of history from our origins up to now. This painting is a continuation of that same practice, but with materials and mediums that I am more accustomed to.

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Michael Elizondo, “Everlasting II,” Oil on Board

Everlasting II is the second painting that is in the exhibit. This painting is actually from a body of work that I started as an undergraduate at Oklahoma Baptist University. Towards the end of my time at OBU, I began to create a series of works that were composed of highly repetitive silhouetted figures.These figures were inspired from a number of tribal ceremonies that I have been fortunate enough to take part in. At night time when a tipi is lit from the inside, a silhouette of whoever may be standing in front of a light or fire is casted. I have always enjoyed witnessing this because I have the opportunity to see a way of life thrive. I also enjoyed the aesthetic of a silhouette because it not only allowed me to keep this inspiration private, but to also share a glimpse of its beauty.

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Michael Elizondo, “Unperished,” Oil and Acrylic on Board, $2,900

After graduating from OBU, I went straight to the University of Oklahoma to pursue my MFA and was eager to learn as much as I could. Along the way I put this visual to the side for years to learn other techniques, materials, and concepts. It was never out of my system and I have always been curious to see what new qualities I can bring back to this series. Overall, I have approached Unperished and Everlasting II differently, but one unifying theme that remains present in my work is the celebration and persistence of Native American culture.

Momentum Tulsa features visual art by 56 young Oklahomans. The exhibition  remains on display until October 23 at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E Brady. The first ever Momentum Tulsa Satellite exhibition will run October 2-23 at Mainline Art Bar Tulsa, 111 N Main. Learn more at www.MomentumOklahoma.org