STEVEN’S ADVENTURE: INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST STEVEN JUDD
As an artist who ventures into different creative outlets, Steven Judd is no one-sided genius, We find out why Steven is on his own adventure.
As a multitalented, pop art-inspired, and fresh viewpoint to the Native art world, Steven Judd often brings symbolic expressions and works from past or present and combines them with his new ideas of inspiration and opinion.
As an artist, his predominant medium has been painting but Judd has expanded into various mediums and avenues of art ink, pencil, digital art, sculptures, ledger work, and has collaborated with clothing companies such as Native Threads. As a writer and film director Judd has received recognition for his hard work and talent across the United States from various different organizations including the Native World Craft Writing Circle, the University of Oklahoma, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Indian Market and other organizations. Judd has collaborated and worked with different companies and artists such as Disney XD, NBC/Universal’s Comedy Short Cuts Diversity Film Festival, PBS and has written and co-produced film work such as Silent Thunder, Shouting Secrets, Six Pack and Gas Money, Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco, and American Indian Graffiti:This Thing Is Life.
NM Magazine received the pleasure of interviewing Judd; getting familiar with his origins and critical thought process as an artist, writer, and director.
Who is Steven Judd?
I’m an artist, I guess, I’m a writer/director, and I also paint and draw.
Steven, what was the very first art piece you created?
Very first, I don’t know the very first, but I do remember, in the second grade, I won first place in an art contest, for drawing a cover of a book. And I don’t really remember what the book was called, but I do remember it was about this lion that only had one nostril, and he was smelling dandelions and he sneezed, that made a second nostril, so I drew that cover, it was a lion holding a dandelion, and I think the lion had plaid shirt on. But that was the first piece I ever remember, which I won that contest for.
Who was your biggest influence into ART?
You know, I have two people, Bunky Echo Hawk, and Andy Warhol. And I have a mentor, who influences me and is helping teach me, named Paul Snider. He’s stylistically is not the same, but he is always very helpful answering any questions I have about using the brush.
What is the first thing that comes to mind about the most exciting experience you had in the ART world? Hmmm, exciting experiences in the ART World, I got accepted into the Indian Market this year. So I’m pretty excited about that, one of my paintings was in the Marion Museum. That is pretty exciting.”
What is the first reaction of any Elders, who see your artwork for the very first time?
Well, that’s difficult to say, because I’ve never had a show like Indian market. The only things I’ve been involved with have only been local shows, and so most people who see my work are on Facebook, so, not many Elders are on Facebook, so I think my audience is mostly the internet audience.
Do you think they might possibly feel offensive with the work you’ve created?
Maybe, that’s tough to say, I’ve been very fortunate, and no one has sent me any Hate email. I try to think about that, like what if, anything I do, would be considered offensive, I do got to say, the main thing is, I’m making it for Indian People. Like the super hero stuff, the stuff I want to see, I get so many messages from parents with Indian kids that say, they love the super hero stuff that kids now get to see a Native person dressed as a super hero. So, for me that makes it all worthwhile. I haven’t had any bad emails, but if I did, I would just remember, the reason why I’m doing it, and the responses I’m getting from the kids, it’s because we just didn’t, at this time and age, have Popular Culture. We see popular culture, all the time. And there was nothing with Natives in Popular culture, or at least I felt, there wasn’t at the time.
Who would you say is your favorite Superhero? And why?
Yeah, I’m not actually the biggest super hero fan per say, I love the cartoon and images growing up of Batman and Superman. And Spiderman, I think they look cool. I didn’t remember an Indian superhero growing up, except for Apache Chief, and I think he could just get tall. He was a very minor Character, so when kids play Superhero as a kid, they always been Batman or Superman. So I wanted to try to do my version of that, and really it wasn’t about being a superhero, it was this idea, and the cartoon called Super friends. And that name kept going in thru my head, super friends, Super friends, and I thought we if we could get these Indians, Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph, and called it Super Friends. So that’s how it actually started. That was my first Indian Super Hero Drawing.
In all your travels, what’s your favorite place?
Oh Wow, I don’t’ have a favorite place, I’ve been fortunate to get to travel a lot, Canada ,Vancouver, right now, I’m in Washington state doing a film camp, called “Tribal Turning Points Program” for at risk Native youth, and we’re making a Zombie Short film. Very beautiful up here, I enjoy Santa Fe, Los Angeles, I go there quite often, I lived there for a little while, so no favorite place, but I’m always looking forward to the next place I get to visit.