Gerald Clarke Jr. is an artist, educator, cattle rancher, small business owner, father and active member of the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians. He currently lives on the reservation, working his family’s ranch and is culturally active, having served on the Tribal Council as Vice-Chairman. Clarke also seamlessly balances his teaching responsibilities and creative practice; he is the Visual Arts Chair at Idyllwild Arts Academy where he teaches Sculpture, Drawing
and New Media, and previously served as Assistant Professor of Art at East Central University in Ada, OK. He is frequently called upon to function as an advisor to the art community at large, all while tirelessly developing his own artistic practice. This November he will participate in the Artist-in-Residence program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM.
Schooled in the craft, art and traditions of his ancestors and trained academically as a painter and sculptor, Clarke is known for his innovative take on traditional techniques. He values craftsmanship as a conveyance of pride, respect and authority, but he pushes these ageless methods to the edge, using them as inspiration from which to experiment with creating new forms and deconstructing old ideas. He strives to express his contemporary indigenous experience in his art, which is intimately connected to his life, family and community. “In my work, I look for the unconventional beauty one finds only in truths. It celebrates, it mourns, and outshines all else.” Working in installation, performance, painting, video, sculpture and glass – Clarke seeks to give voice to his Native American community by dispelling myths, bringing truths to the forefront, and finding a middle ground between perception and reality.