By Julie Osterman
A love of western art was instilled in Utah artist Greg Overton at an early age. His mother taught him to paint when he was just 5 or 6 years old, and he was copying the work of artists such as Russell and Remington by the time he was in grade school. Overton’s work celebrates Native American culture. “I want to portray this culture in a respectful, even reverent way,” he says. The artist bases most of his paintings on history, such as his current series on the Ute tribe during the Black Hawk War period. He strives to make his portraits as authentic as possible by hiring models from the same tribe, getting beadwork custom-made, and using the correct types of face paint, such as red ochre, yellow ochre, and clay.
Overton does a great deal of research and also takes into account the perspectives of his Native American models and friends. “The main thing I want to do with my artwork is to show Native Americans as individuals, not as icons or stereotypes,” he says. “I really try hard to put the feeling of an individual in the eyes. Once that individual comes alive, I’m done with the painting.” Overton’s work is on display August 7-8 at Mountain Trails Gallery, Park City, UT, during the 35th annual Park City Arts Festival.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” June 2004