Jason Parrish of the Near the Mountain and Bitter Water People Clans, paints with the grace of the Ancestors. Jason and his paintings reflect the traditional Navajo way of “Walking in Beauty”, simply to be your best, everyday. What began as a meditative process and contemplation of his culture has turned into a full time dream fulfillment for the young painter. A graduate of the University of New Mexico with a History Degree with aspirations for Law School, Jason worked full time in banking, but continued to paint.
With the blessings and support of his family Jason began to paint at age ten and was winning best of show and selling out of his paintings by the age of 16. This theme has continued over the last ten years, culminating in what Jason says was “one of the happiest days of my adult life,” winning Best in Show at the Heard Museum in 2013. As well as being the youngest person to earn this award, Jason sold half of his paintings by 9 a.m. and the other half by 2 p.m., packing up his booth and taking the victory walk through the plaza to turn in his booth number.
“I am doing this for myself, my people, my heritage,” says Jason. An animal and nature lover, Jason finds inspiration from the horses, sheep and crops he raises in the rugged Navajo country. His paintings reflect the social aspect of his culture and its intricate balance with nature.
His mother states that “Jason will sometimes walk up into the Chuska Mountains for hours at a time, thinking about his world and painting.” The huge family ranch affords Jason a place to walk and study the plants and animals that he depicts in his paintings.
Preserved are the traditional Navajo regalia as Jason’s characters dance and parade through our imagination. Ancestral teachings reach out from his canvas. Jingles can be heard as dancing ladies float by, as well as the pounding of hooves from the Navajo horse riders parading and racing through his paintings. Jason has a desire to keep the old ways alive with his paintings, with special details respectfully representing his Dine` culture.
Jason uses a historical approach to his painting, adopting elements from the Dorothy Dunn era, considered “contemporary” in the 1930’s, but now viewed as a more traditional style with heavy outlines and fine detail. This young man’s old school appeal and modern day artistic, peaceful-warrior way are debuting here at Raven Makes Gallery.