Talking His Talk
Talking His Talk
(Undated by artist.), 2022
Acrylic paint, Colored Pencil, Ink, Marker pen, Pencil, Plexiglass
17 × 14 × .3 in
An accretion of drawings by Brian D. Tripp ranging from 1974 to the early 2000s. Brian was always extremely careful about the titles of his books and artworks, and in this book, as is the case with many of his works, the title does not necessarily appear in the piece (as obvious text in any case). The title does however give us a good idea about BDT’s intention regarding the assembling of this book. The cover seems to be the character referred to by the title (perhaps Brian or an avatar of himself), and the book seems to be a key to the early graphic origins of the many figures/symbols of Karuk cosmology that Brian uses in his work.
Thus the book posits itself as a sort of reversed engineered lexicon. The protagonist of the book, seen on the cover, is literally formed of the symbols, characters, and icons that the rest of the book explores. The book also illustrates the “freeing of the line” that Tripp often talked about as part of his maturing artmaking practice. At some point in the early 1990s, Tripp stops all use of the straight-edge graphic design style of line-making and almost exclusively uses the more expressionist gestural line-making style most associated with his artwork. (At some points in the 1970s and 1980s Tripp was doing somewhat conventional freelance graphic design while still using Karuk iconographic sources. But by the mid-1980s even his frequent commissioned design projects were utilizing his “free-line” style.)
Though Tripp draws from numerous art historical sources, both Native and others, this book is a telling illustration of the importance of (so-called) traditional sources to Brian even throughout his stylistic changes. This book draws heavily on the designs of the basket weaving of legendary Wyot/Karuk artist Elizabeth Conrad Hickox (who Brian often referred to as a major influence and inspiration) and other Native American artists.