Photograph by Samantha Tracy
Terran Last Gun (b. 1989) is a Piikani (Blackfeet) visual artist and printmaker with an emphasis in screen printing. Other mediums he works with includes painting, photography, and ledger drawing. Last Gun’s work is a visual interpretation of nature, the cosmos, cultural narratives, and recollections in reduced geometric aesthetics and vibrant energetic color harmonies. He often references Piikani painted lodges and visual iconographic vocabulary to explore the varying relationships between color, shape, nature, and sky.
Born in Browning, Montana, Last Gun received his A.S. degree from the Blackfeet Community College in 2011, and his BFA in Museum Studies and AFA in Studio Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2016. He is a recipient of awards from the First Peoples Fund, 2020 Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship; Santa Fe Art Institute, 2018 Story Maps Fellowship; and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, 2016 Goodman Aspiring Artist Fellowship. He currently lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
My artwork is a visual interpretation of nature, the cosmos, cultural narratives, and recollections in reduced geometric aesthetics and vibrant energetic color harmonies. Often referencing Piikani painted lodges and visual iconographic vocabulary, my work explores the varying relationships between color, shape, nature, and sky. Piikani or Blackfoot painted lodges are visual masterpieces of the Great Plains and are pre-European invasion classic art. Painted lodges depict the world in which we live, through geometric geological landmarks, figurative animals, and the above world that connects us to Natosi (Sun). In my varied approaches to making art—printmaking, painting, photography, and ledger drawing—my work connects the ancient to the contemporary, and reaches beyond, all while creating visual color stimulation.
With an emphasis in printmaking and the technique of serigraphy, I am revealing fragments of time, history, and Indigenous Abstraction that has been in North America for tens of thousands of years. I am working with an Indigenous aesthetic, which has been overlooked, appropriated, and shadowed since the Great Invasion, and that I am in the process of reclaiming, restoring, and reinvigorating. I am creating a New American and Piikani art form that is equally inspired by painted lodges, ancient art, and nature as it is about geometric abstraction, minimalism, pop art, and op art. My current body of work explores and visually dissects the three visual tiers of most Piikani painted lodges with a focus on the top and bottom zones, and the various narratives that accompany them and connect us to the land and sky. My work is bold, vivid, even humorous at times, and has minimalism qualities that are potent in meaning, content, and place.
Copyright © 2020 Terran Last Gun. All rights reserved.