Artist LAKOTA SCOTT wovens together education, medicine and art to bring balance with her unique style of jewelry-making
Could you please explain who you are and your art?
I currently reside in Phoenix, Arizona but originate from the Navajo Nation (Tuba City, White Mesa, and Kayenta). During my undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College I majored in Native American Studies and Studio Art, focusing on sculpture and intaglio printmaking. I used these mediums as a way to stay connected to and learn about my culture. Since graduating in 2011 I have continued to explore sculpture and printmaking, bringing together inspiration from family members’ artwork with my own mediums to create wire jewelry and prints.
What made you decide to double major and why Studio Art?
Going into Dartmouth I knew that I was going to medical school after, so my main focus was to learn as much as I could. By the time I had to file my major with the registrar, Native American Studies was the department I had the most credits in. Every semester I took a class in Native American Studies, the department there is amazing, with almost every class taught by Native professors. As for studio art that took a little longer for me to realize. When I first started at Dartmouth I strayed away from art classes until my second year. Growing up I had an array of art supplies to play with because my father is an artist, while at school I felt that a large part of me was missing because I didn’t work on anything creative. Once I decided to take art classes I felt much more confident in my studies and this spread positively in my other classes.
How has your work evolved into what you are creating today?
My work has gone to a very small scale more recently with the jewelry I am creating. The original piece that led to my jewelry was a basket that I could sit in, made from steel wire and looked much more like a giant shell. The second version was a basket, a foot or so in diameter woven much tighter, drawing from Navajo basket designs. The method of weaving comes from watching family members make baskets growing up and the design work is inspired by baskets, rugs, and patterns surrounding me.
Who and/or what are your inspiration when creating?
Stories that I have read or have been told. My own experiences as a Diné woman and others’ experiences. Histories of indigenous people. My family and those I have encountered in my life that have made a lasting impression.
At this point in your career, do you consider yourself an established artist?
I consider myself to be continually learning and yet to be established.
Have you faced any challenges in promoting yourself and your art?
I feel like I have not put myself out there enough to face any challenges yet.
Where can people view your current work and where have you shown?
I had intaglio printmaking pieces at the Navajo Nation Museum as part of the “Ch’ikééh Baa Hózhó” group show in conjunction with the release of Ziindi’s second issue, which featured contemporary native female artists. The show ran from February 2013 to February 2014. The zine can be viewed at http://ziindi.com. From January to February I had sculpture and prints on display at 1Spot Gallery in downtown Phoenix as part of the group show “Boom! A Transformation: Collective Womyn Art Show”. Currently my earrings are displayed at 1Spot Gallery, 918 N. 6th St. in Phoenix, AZ.
In the next 5 years, what do you hope to accomplish with your art? In medical school still an option at this point?
I hope to continue creating and finding new avenues to explore. I start medical school in the fall and aspire to keep creating while in school. I do not see medicine as all that far from art and intend to meld the two together in learning.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
There is not just one path to achieving your goals, learn from experiences and grow. Talk with those who have achieved what you want, gather their advice and sift out what matches your values and ideals. Be thankful for the opportunities you come across and give your time and artwork to causes you truly support.