BLM Artist-in-Residence Kirk Gittings was born in Alaska, but he has resided in the Southwest for 54 years. His father was an avid photographer, and Kirk grew up with a darkroom in his childhood home.
Gittings has been a career photographer since 1970. He formally studied at the famous photography department of the University of New Mexico, and ultimately received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Since college, Gittings has widely published and exhibited photographs throughout the United States. To date, his architectural photography has appeared in hundreds of magazines and in 75 books, while his black and white art photography has been displayed in 83 exhibits. His work is represented in many museum, corporate, and private collections in the United States and abroad.
In 2005 a 30-year retrospective book and exhibit were produced entitled Shelter from the Storm: The Photographs of Kirk Gittings. In addition, he is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico, and he has been an ongoing Visiting Artist for 14 years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Gittings has received numerous honors, including a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The State Legislature of New Mexico recognized artist Kirk Gittings for his life’s work in 2006.
BLM Artist-in-Residence Joyce Heuman says of herself, “I’m sure I had a brush in my hands when I was born! Family and teachers saw that I loved to draw, make up stories, and was very good at it. I knew that one day I would go to college and major in fine art.”
Heuman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Colorado, worked as a jeweler in Denver, then moved to the Oregon coast. She lived among sand dunes while creating jewelry as well as paintings and drawings of the ocean and old growth trees.
Heuman returned to Boulder and continued her work as a painter, technical illustrator, and graphic designer. While concentrating her efforts toward income, she also managed to study with local watercolor artists. In 2001 she moved on to southwestern Colorado, and now maintains her home and studio in McElmo Canyon west of Cortez. Heuman is also employed by nearby Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and has educated herself about Ancestral Puebloan culture and archaeology.
Heuman says of her art, “I am fortunate to live where it’s incredibly rich with history, alongside natural landscapes shaped by wind and water. I paint pictures like I walk among the rocks—under a spell, with an instinct of awareness, and a feeling of belonging. The colors and textures I see are a language of sensation and delight in the elements of nature. They also mark time and evolution. I wonder what ancient peoples felt when they lived here, and how I may be similar to them. I hope my work inspires the viewer, just as this public land has inspired me.”
Arthur Short Bull
BLM Artist-in-Residence Arthur Short Bull belongs to the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) people of the northern Great Plains. He was raised in a traditional family at White Clay Creek (Makasan).
According to the artist, “The history of the American West is rich, abundant, and interwoven with that of the original inhabitants.... That history has rarely been told visually through the eyes of Native Americans, with the outlook and interpretation that only Native Americans could express.”
The artist is related to famed artist and historian Amos Bad Heart Bull, younger brother of He Dog, both of whom rode with Crazy Horse at the battle of Little Big Horn. In 1891, Bad Heart Bull purchased a ledger book at a Nebraska dry goods store. Aided by stories from his uncle Grant Short Bull, he filled it with the illustrated history of their band. This important historical document and visual narrative has been a lifelong inspiration to the artist.
In 2006 Short Bull was a recipient of the First Peoples Cultural Capital Program Fellowship, during which he commemorated the Wounded Knee Massacre in poems and paintings. In 2009 he received a First Peoples Fund Business Leadership award, and in 2010 he served as an advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts.
Short Bull’s focus and intent as Artist-in-Residence has been “to picture the original landscape [and] to honor my Native heritage through my paintings.”
BLM Artist-in-Residence Carol Chamberland grew up in Connecticut where she developed an early love for outdoor activities—bicycling, skating, and hiking.
After high school, Chamberland attended the Hartford Art School to pursue her interest in art. Later transferring to Arizona State University, she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting. She minored in Computer Science, a practical move that landed her a rewarding career in software development.
Chamberland then enrolled at San Francisco State University in California, where she combined her art and computer skills to earn an Master of Fine Arts degree in Conceptual Design. These new studies led to a creative career in video production and graphic design.
In 2004 Chamberland relocated from Berkeley, California, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently lives and works. This move afforded her more time for her art and greater opportunities for outdoor exploration.
Chamberland is represented in Albuquerque by the Weyrich Gallery. She also volunteers as a docent at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and volunteers for the Bureau of Land Management. As a BLM volunteer, she leads a group of avocational archaeologists in recording ancient rock art on public lands in New Mexico. Carol believes that all of life’s experiences provide inspiration for the mindful artist.
Photos by Wayne Rice, BLM