“Living so far away from Oklahoma, the Native art world keeps me connected to my Native heritage and my background.” — Muscogee (Creek) artist Starr Hardridge
Chelsie Rich/Project Specialist
Hardridge’s work to be shown at Hardesty Arts Center
OKMULGEE, Okla. — Muscogee (Creek) artist, Starr Hardridge stays connected to his Mvskoke heritage through his passion for the contemporary arts.
Hardridge and his wife, who is an interior decorator, live at the location for their decorative painting and design business with their two children in Redding, Conn.
“We do corporate and residentials but my Native art focuses on Creek history, culture,” Hardridge said.
Although he lives abroad, Hardridge said he maintains his Oklahoma roots.
“My dad’s family is where the Creek blood comes from. His family was originally from the Kellyville area,” he said. “Living so far away from Oklahoma, the Native art world keeps me connected to my Native heritage and my background.”
Hardridge said he also uses art to teach his children about the Mvskoke culture.
Early in his life, Hardridge said he knew he had special artistic skills.
“I’ve had a talent for the arts ever since I was a child,” he said. “It’s something I excelled at and I decided I wanted to be a painter and illustrator.”
Hardridge attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga.
While there, Hardridge visited the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds in Macon, Ga., and the Etowah Indian Mounds in Cartersville, Ga.
“It really reconnected me to Creek heritage so I started researching everything I could,” he said. “I started directing most of my personal art back towards the Native direction.”
Hardridge is featured in the Exhibit C, Chickasaw art gallery in Oklahoma City and the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M.
“I got into the Blue Rain Gallery… which is a very prestigious contemporary gallery,” he said.
Hardridge has shown his art in the Santa Fe Indian Art Market, Red Earth Festival, Five Civilized Tribes Juried Exhibition and more.
“I’m kind of taking concept from the Mississippian Period art and kind of bringing them into a more of a contemporary view,” Hardridge said.
Hardridge also studied Muscogee (Creek) beadwork dated back to pre-removal, which he then incorporated into his paintings.
“I think after removal, a lot of those art forms were lost… life really did change when they came to Oklahoma,” he said.
Hardridge is involved in a group show called ‘Return From Exile,’ which features Oklahoma Native artists from tribes that originated in the Southeast.
Hardridge spoke about one of his paintings that can be viewed during the exhibition.
“The piece I was doing for ‘Return From Exile’ reflected that movement of culture and it was called ‘Cultural Baggage,’ ” Hardridge said.
Hardridge described the piece.
“You can see this line of people going through the woods in the wintertime,” Hardridge said. “You can only see the forms of the people but within the forms, you see a lot of pre-Removal designs.”
Hardridge chose to use acrylics in a pointillist style on Venetian plaster on canvas.
“It’s all tiny dots. It’s thousands and thousands of tiny dots that make up the entire image,” Hardridge said. “When you look at it from far away, it really does look like beadwork on a flat surface.”
The Return From Exile show, which features other Muscogee (Creek) artists, will be featured Oct. 1-Nov. 20 at the Hardesty Art Center in Tulsa.2 comments