ROSETA SANTIAGO, a prolific master of  Western heritage paintings - represented by BLUE RAIN GALLERY - met Vanessa Bowen, a young Native artist and designer, several years ago and was immediately drawn to her dynamic personality and natural beauty. 

Santiago Photos courtesy of artist

"I knew I wanted to paint her portrait and invited her to my studio for a photo shoot. I was drawn to her fierce independence and knew that some day we would work together. She reminds me of myself in many ways," muses Santiago. 

That day came and the result of this dynamic collaboration is the two-month-old ARTTALK.US - a brilliantly-designed blog for collectors showcasing the work of prominent artists with a special focus on introducing young, talented Native American artists - MDRN NDN (MODERN INDIAN).


"I wanted to give encouragement and help to those  artists who've not had opportunities to find pathways into the "world of collectors", notes Santiago, who  explains that she is giving back for the talent she has been blessed with by creating  a marketing platform/blog for artists at no cost to them - funded from her personal art sales.

Vanessa was the perfect choice for designing ARTTALK.US, says Santiago. "She has a diamond-studded work ethic and expertise, and the spotlight on MDRN NDN is Vanessa's genius. She  has already posted  interviews with some of the most talented Native artists I have ever seen. She has and uses total creative freedom to make ARTTALK speak for artists"


Jemez Pueblo



T H O M A S   "BREEZE"   M A R C U S

Tohono O'odham/Akimel O'odham

V A N E S S A   B O W E N


Designer - ARTTALK.US

Photography by C. Whitney-Ward

CHASING met with Vanessa last weekend for a photo shoot at the railyard. Her adorable son Harper came along; she brought several of her paintings; and we had fun. I also asked her lots and lots of questions about her art and MDRN NDN... 

Q. Where does your inspiration come from?

A.  Most of my work revolves around the people that I love. They are the ones who encourage me to be the best version of myself, and in turn, I often paint their portraits. My pieces of work are vibrant, colorful, and have a balance of organic and geometric shapes.

Son Harper

Q. How did MDRN NDN come about?

A. Two years ago I teamed up with gallerist Bobby Beals to bring MDRN NDN quite literally to the streets of Santa Fe by painting  a mural - an ode to Gabrielle Scrimshaw - on the wall of the Giacobbe-Fritz Gallery.

This First Nations activist and scholar epitomized exactly what I thought a modern Indian is - an indigenous person navigating through this modern time with  their own culture as  guide. 

This work is very important for me. I am a modern Indian and by showcasing my peers, in a way, I am also celebrating myself. I believe that MDRN NDN will inspire Native youth, and it will continue to do so for generations to come.

Q. Besides painting and graphic design, what are your other talents? 

A. I've been DJing now for 6 years, taught by my close friend Cloudface. It began when I was producing a radio show. I had a great love for music and an impressive music library. I don't DJ as much now," says Vanessa, who is a graphic designer, mother of two and devotes time to ARTTALK.US. Now she now spins records at home with her husband who is also a DJ.

Vanessa & Harper

Note black paint on the painting. Harper, says Vanessa, decided to do a bit of painting of his own on her just-finished portrait.  He's pretty proud of his work, she laughs.


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