Get to know him

The passage describes a person who began attending the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) market with his father at the age of five. By the time he was ten, he started selling beadwork, having learned techniques from books and honing his skills through practice. The SWAIA market provided an excellent platform for him to connect with other beaders, where he met Ken Williams, Jr., who became a significant influence on his work. Through these connections and experiences, he developed his personal style, which extends beyond traditional motifs of beaded jewelry. For instance, he incorporates themes of HIV/AIDS and queerness into his designs, adding depth and meaning to his creations.

His Mission

Hollis Chitto's journey as an artisan reflects a profound connection to his cultural roots and a deep respect for the traditional crafts passed down through his family. His transition from quillwork to beadwork showcases not just a shift in medium but also an evolution of artistic expression, driven by a fascination with color and versatility.

Growing up in Santa Fe, surrounded by a community of talented artists and artisans, undoubtedly played a crucial role in shaping Chitto's artistic identity. The influence of his grandmother, a skilled beader, and his father, who worked with clay, provided him with early exposure to the rich artistic heritage of his peoples.

His vision

Chitto's work stands out for its ability to merge traditional motifs and techniques with his own unique artistic vision. By infusing his pieces with cultural significance, he not only creates visually captivating artwork but also contributes to the preservation and celebration of Indigenous traditions.

The widespread recognition of Hollis Chitto's craftsmanship suggests that his work has resonated with audiences far beyond his local community. Collectors and enthusiasts, both nationally and internationally, are drawn to the beauty and cultural depth embedded in his beaded creations.

Ultimately, Hollis Chitto's enduring legacy in the world of Native American artisan jewelry is a testament to his dedication to innovation, preservation, and the ongoing evolution of Indigenous artistic traditions.