Frank Buffalo Hyde
biography Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Frank Buffalo Hyde was raised on his mother’s Onondaga reservation and studied at the Santa Fe Art Institute and Institute of American Indian Arts. He belongs to the Onondaga Nation, Beaver Clan, and Nez Perce tribe. Before becoming a visual artist, he played in a rock band and dabbled in writing.
Hyde creates satirical, graphic paintings, at once humorous and acerbic, that meld the collective unconscious of the 21st century with his Native American heritage. He transforms street art techniques like stenciling into fine art practices. His explosively colorful, bold works powerfully jolt viewers to consider the miscommunication of cultures. Hyde says, “In the age of the internet, if I can make the viewer slow down for longer than five seconds or create conversation then I have done my job.”
Hyde grew up watching artists like Fritz Scholder and T.C. Cannon poke fun of the pop mythos of the American Indian. He also acknowledges the influence of pop-art giants like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat to his aesthetic. He challenges notions of what Native American art “should” look like with his satirical portraits and scenes that turn stereotypes on their heads. He roots Native Americans in the digital age and critiques cultural appropriation, America’s fear of otherness, and the reduction of indigenous cultures to mascots and costumes. His numerous paintings of buffalo explore the multiple cultural meanings of his namesake animal over time from legend to burger, Buffalo Bill to Buffalo wings. His explorations of identity, cultural politics, and symbolism document critical issues of our time. Numerous private and public collections hold his work including the Institute of American Indian Arts, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, The Iroquois Museum, The Longyear Museum, American Indian Arts Museum, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and Sprint Corporate Collection.
When working on a piece, I tap into the universal mind. The collective unconsciousness of the 21st century. Drawing images from advertisement, movies, television, music and politics. Expressing observation, as well as knowledge through experience. Overlapping imagery to mimic the way the mind holds information: non linear and without separation. I don’t need permission to make what I make. Never have… no artist should.