I’m a Comanche Indian from Lawton, Oklahoma. My grandmother and grandfather were full-blooded Comanche. I grew up speaking Comanche before I learned English. The son of a white father and a Comanche mother, I learned Comanche traditions from my maternal grandparents. My grandfather taught me the peyote religion and told me stories about great Comanche warriors of the past. When my grandfather passed away he handed me down the medicine. I sleep in a room full of it and I pray a lot. Every morning and every evening, in the medicine ways. A lot of times I get visions when I’m sleeping. When I work around medicine I’ll get a vision or a title and I’ll see the scene and paint it.
When I was little, I saw the Fort Sill army trucks so I tried to draw them in the dirt and my grandmother said, “Draw this,” and she drew a triangle. She said, “That’s a teepee. That’s Indian. Draw about us and who we are.” So then I started drawing Indian things, like teepees and horses.
We had Appaloosas in the Comanche tribe; the Comanche went up to Oregon and stole them from the Nez Perce. They’re the ones who originated the Appaloosa horses. Sometimes the dots on an Appie are blue, sometimes they’re gray, and so I started doing that, without marking them first. I just knew where the spots were going to be. I’m a horse person. I am Comanche.
RANCE HOOD is one of the few Native American Rance Hoodpainters left who still paints in the manner which echoes the traditional Indian culture and spirituality of the past that has been drastically changed by the modern and white worlds. Born in 1941 in Lawton, Oklahoma, Hood grew up in the home of his maternal grandparents who taught him Comanche Indian ways and values. Unable to speak English until he began public school at the age of six, he soon learned how to get by in the white world. Gallery A Sacred Buffalo Prayer Autumn Warrior “A Sacred Buffalo Prayer” Acrylic on Canvas 60″x48″ “And the Enemy Passed” Stone Lithograph /Paper 38″x24″ $1500 “Autumn Warrior” Acrylic on Canvas 40″x30″ On the Move kiowa warrior “On the Move” Acrylic on Canvas 38″x24″ “Kiowa Warrior” Acrylic on Canvas 12″x12″ After his grandparents died, he dropped out of school and worked on oil rigs in Texas and rode the rodeo circuit. A trip to live briefly with his brother in California brought about the desire to paint and draw about his own culture, and he was soon selling his art. He returned to Oklahoma in the 1960′s and began spending more time on his art and researching its traditions by learning techniques from already successful Indian painters. Through powwows, booth shows, and galleries, he became successful and won recognition, including “First” in the Plains Division of the juried shows of the prestigious Phillbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hood conducts business and produces art out of his studio in Denison, Texas, preferring to sell his own originals and reproductions and shunning the highly-marketed hype many “superstar” artists embrace. He also donates his time and talent by providing images for Indian rights funds and film organizations for fund-raising purposes which benefit Native Americans. The range and focus of his career even extends to producing his tribal emblem and the design of a turbo jet. Hood has toured Europe and Germany with one-man shows, and his paintings hang in some of the finest museums and private collections in the world. His work has been mentioned in countless books chronicling Native American art, and his influence on other artists can be seen in art galleries throughout the U.S. and Europe in addition to major and minor magazines which focus on Indian art and culture. Hood has introduced some abstract motifs into his backgrounds, but he adheres mainly to the traditional style of art practiced by his ancestors. Today, thirty years beyond his original success as a major Indian artist in the 1960′s. RANCE HOOD is still considered the most successful Plains Indian artist.
-Joan Frederick, Native American Art Historian
Author, T. C. Cannon: He Stood in the Sun, published ’95 by Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ