Meet today's most compelling artists and explore their work as they take you on a creative journey sure to inspire your imagination and appreciation for the visual arts.

Featured Artist Tony Abeyta

Tony Abeyta

Tony Abeyta grew up in Gallup, New Mexico. Being of both Navajo and Anglo descent, much of his work is defined by his unique upbringing. He creates a powerful range of contemporary paintings and explores a variety of mediums such as oil and monotype. Abeyta gives life to a number of unique pieces including charcoal drawings, large-scale oil and sand paintings, and abstract mixed media pieces by incorporating encaustic wax, copper and printmaking. His individual style incorporates bold colors, rich textures and representations of Navajo deities.
"I was raised in a small town surrounded by the Navajo and Zuni reservation with Acoma and Laguna in my backyard. Route 66 ran through town and the railroad as well. There was always a sense that there were other places to be and I left Gallup at 16 years old to study art in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Institute of American Indian Arts."
School was important for Abeyta and it became a license for him to travel to many great places. He attended many schools including the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore; Lacoste School of Art in Southern France; Studio Art Centers International Florence; The Art Institute of Chicago; Haystack School in Bangor, Maine; and finally New York University for graduate studies. Currently Tony works in both Santa Fe, New Mexico and in Chicago, Illinois where he lives with his son Gabriel, keeping a studio in both places.
"Living in an urban place adds an element of progressive cultural experience. In a city there is the whole discourse of culture, thinking, music and international art. I consider myself a regionalist, accepting that much of what I do is tied to a native culture and place. I find that art is constantly moving, reinventing and affected by the changes in our culture and it’s great to feel part of that in some way."
Tony works on both oil paintings and large scale drawings; He is creating a new series of large three-dimensional sculptures as well.
"I try to diversify as an artist; there are certainly many directions I take as a painter. I am concurrently working on large neo-modernist landscapes, black and white abstract, biomechanical charcoal and ink wash drawings, colorful deity paintings with abrupt textures and paint, and now sculptures as well."

Watch We The Artists as seen on KPBS