Working with other artists is an opportunity that we so seldom get. However, as Natives, we are community-oriented by nature. Going to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, as a Native artist it made me realize that there needs to be that same creative energy at home in the Pacific Northwest. There are so many talented artists and we seem to be co-existing independently. It is my hope and wishes that we can hold a space at nativeanthro.com for Native artists who bring significant creative energy to our community. Below is a bio of artists in residence who I have the privilege to work with:
Artist: Trevor Braden
Tribe: Enrolled Grand Ronde/ Yakama, Umatilla (descendant)
Mediums: Spray Paint, Acrylic paints, Pen & ink
Bio: I was born in Toppenish Washington on January 13, 1987. My Parents, Linda Braden (Umatilla) and Travis Sanchez (Yakama) raised me on the Yakama Nation Reservation in Toppenish. I graduated from Toppenish High School in 2005 with awards in art. As a student at the Toppenish High School, I was closely mentored by my favorite art instructor, Laura Wise.
Growing up in Toppenish in the 90’s you were surrounded by art. All types of art. On one side you had all the professional murals and on the other side, there was graffiti. I took notice of all of these art forms. I took notice of the way someone would take time to mark a wall. Some hate this form of art which is understandable. However, I was interested in these forms of art because they were everywhere growing up. At the elementary school level, kids would want to compete to see who could do the best lowrider style art. I was proud to be one of the few native kids who could compete with the rest of the students. This is where I started to get more interested in the graffiti aspect of my art.
Lowrider magazine, Source Magazine, and the occasional graffiti magazine that would get passed around amongst peers were a guide for me. I would take note on styles, color schemes, character design and anything else I could learn from Master graffiti artists that were in these magazines. A lot of the artists I took note from were subway graffiti artists from New York from the ’80s. I also looked up to artists such as H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Greg “Craola” Simkins.
I would often try and mimic those artists that I looked up to but quickly realized that I would need to come up with my own style. My close cousin (brother) Garrett Mesplie and I really moved at the same pace when trying to come up with our style. We have been told by peers that our style of art resembles each other due to all of the years of working side by side. Garrett and I really value our relationship, not only as brothers, but our bond in art. We have made all of our efforts as a team and we almost always collaborate when we are commissioned for art projects.
Garrett and I realized that we needed to reach out to other audiences outside of the graffiti culture. What better audience then our Native people and culture. So our subject matter generally being graffiti has matured into a style where we mix techniques we have learned from graffiti and incorporate them into Native American style designs.
I hope that my art can influence others, especially the younger generation.
Recent murals done by Trevor and his cousin Garrett Mesplie (photo courtesy of Carol Craig, YN Review)
Garret on left and Trevor on the right
Trevor on the left and Garrett on the right