Talented Native Artist Dominic Arquero Shares Gifts Bestowed From a Higher Power
A Gift From the Creator
As a Native American from Cochiti Pueblo, Dominic Arquero believes art is in his DNA. In his lineage and among their ancestors, in his words, art was a necessity. Growing up, his uncle, teacher and renowned artist Manuel “Bob” Chavez (Cochiti Pueblo) was his mentor and creative inspiration. Dominic attended the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, and as his wife Imogene Good Shot Arquero (Oglala Lakota), also an artist (and pretty inspirational in her own right) will tell you, he was good at everything he tried. Through both practice and his formal education at IAIA, he learned painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture and pottery. He is self-taught in gourd art, a unique canvas for his work.
While Dominic believes art is in his blood, he also feels strongly that it represents more than his heredity and refers to it additionally as “a gift from the Creator.” It is one which he shares unselfishly. In fact, Dominic will tell you that he relishes the opportunity to host workshops, including at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and he takes pride in teaching the techniques he has come to master to others.
"Buffalo Dreams" Painting by Dominic Arquero
Bold Creative Choices
Throughout his lifetime as an artist, Dominic has eagerly sought opportunities to try new techniques. Early use of parfleche to create pouches that were both practical and a source of adornment, evolved into his talents for crafting beautiful jewelry of various forms, but most of all he gravitated toward painting on rawhide. What he does with the canvas, shaping and etching and crafting individual pieces in the shape of eagle feathers for wearable art in the form of earrings, is what makes it so special.
Although he sells many teardrop, rectangular and other designs, his eagle feather earrings are among his most popular. Dominic explains how eagles and eagle feathers have great significance to Native American people, and he shapes and details the earrings to look just like the feathers. He uses acrylic paint for the colorful and vibrant jewelry, which he applies with painstaking detail. Although aesthetically their appeal is obvious, his work represents more than a stylish accessory. He explains that the use of the eagle feather in art has been incorporated since time immemorial.
“The eagle, along with other birds are viewed on a spiritual level for most Native Tribes,” states Dominic. “They have a spirt that they lend us and power that they give us because they give us life.”
Art Which Tells a Story
In addition to his many other artistic endeavors, Dominic has been making the earrings for the past three decades, and they are always among the most sought-after items in his creative inventory. He believes that everything has a story behind it, and there is no one among us who doesn’t relate in some way to wildlife, whether fish or birds or other creatures of the four-legged variety. “They have a significant and often spiritual purpose within our world,” Dominic says. “We are all intertwined – they’re like our relatives and they help to unite us.”
Dominic’s work can be viewed and purchased from the Indian Pueblo Store here.Explore Dominic Arquero's Artowrk
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