In 2019 Brian D. Tripp was awarded the California Living Heritage Award from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts — only the third time in the Fresno-based nonprofit's 20-plus year history that its highest honor for lifetime achievement had been presented.
Brian D. Tripp is honored both as a traditional dancer and singer, and an enigmatic, outspoken contemporary artist and poet in his Northern California Karuk Tribal community and beyond. Tripp uses his artwork to demonstrate his commitment to his community and Native American culture and his lifelong devotional interest in giving life to traditions and history. Tripp's artist's books and drawings pay reverence to the legendary "ledger drawings" made by Native Americans displaced from their tribes and lands, and moved to camps in the Southeast. Given old accounting ledger books, artists kept distant images alive by drawing their past lives and native lands. Tripp’s art provides a new perspective on imagery familiar to the artist and Native American tradition: motifs from basket work, arrowheads, ceremonial objects, and Karuk regalia – symbols passed down for generations are reinvigorated by Tripp’s use of vibrant color and formal geometric iconography. His contemporary versions pay homage to the inherent power of images long in use.
Brian D. Tripp has maintained his creative practice and exhibited his art for over 40 years. His work has been exhibited at: the New Museum, New York; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Oakland Museum of California; and New York’s Museum of Art and Design. And are in the permanent collections of the Berkeley Art Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Heard Museum, Morris Graves Museum of Art, The Oakland Museum of California, Washington State Museum and others.