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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — If Eric Tippeconnic’s mother ever needed her youngest son to sit still she would produce a marker and pad.

He recalls, “Wherever I would go I would just draw in and color what I would see.”

He still experiences that same, calm focus drawing or painting what he sees, and what he’s seen so far.

“I’ve gotten to see Apache crown dancers, Ahupa white deerskin dancers,” he says.

Eric’s grandfather carried his name from the Fort Sill Reservation.

Eric himself grew up on all kinds of different Native American land thanks to his father’s government job.

Like an anthropologist, he gathered in cultures from all over North America.

He played college football at Colorado State causing an observer to remark, “I hesitate to say this but you look more like a coach drawing up a play on the sideline than an artist.”

His response is a hearty laugh.

Eric is also a history professor at Cal State Fullerton.

But art is the one constant that’s always followed wherever he went.

The Comanche were a nomadic people, ranging across the Plains from the Dakotas to Mexico.

Eric Tippeconnic draws a parallel from that culture to his own history.

“What I firmly believe,” he says, “And what I hope my art will convey is that Native America is alive and well and constantly evolving. It’s not stagnant. It’s not just sitting in the 19th Century.”

If you go to the Red Earth Festival and buy a t-shirt one of Eric’s paintings will go home with you.

Home is still wherever he might be, and wherever there is something moving for him to put on canvas.

“Home is wherever I move to,” he says. “Wherever I sit down and set up camp.”


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