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Artful prairies


Norman artist makes pop art wearable.

Jenn Scott January 4th, 2012

You may have seen some of Tom Farris’ work last month at the Norman Art Walk.

A visual and performance artist, as well as owner of Standing Buffalo Indian Art Gallery & Gifts, 106 E. Main in Norman, Farris has developed a unique signature style that blends American Indian culture with pop art.

“I try to give a Native perspective to visual elements that people wouldn’t normally associate with American Indians,” said Farris, a member of the Otoe Missouria Tribe and Cherokee Nation.

“My style incorporates the Indian art I grew up on with pop art and contemporary influences, which showcase my modern Native perspective,” he said.

Since its opening in 2007, Farris’ unassuming gallery has grown and become a breeding ground for other art world additions. Prior to his gallery, he was assistant director of the Jacobson House Native Art Center and later project manager of the Cherokee Art Market.

In the meantime, Farris continues to work closely with other Oklahoma artists. Recently he was asked to collaborate with Rachel Jackson, founder of Red Flag Press, a project created to help resurrect the noble spirit of Oklahoma. Together they plan to produce screened T-shirts by way of Farris’ now signature style, pop-art-based paintings melded with a little bit of historical research.

Keep your eye on Farris as he pursues not only his visual art, but also his entrance to the world of clothing and fashion.

“The series of shirts will feature faces of Oklahomans that represent radical history,” said Jackson.

You can expect the shirts to feature the likenesses of such people as civil rights leader Clara Luper, labor activist Karen Silkwood, and Chitto Harjo, a late-19th-century Muscogee Creek Nation leader who fought land allotment. In addition, the shirts will feature a quote as well as an outline of Oklahoma.

“It’s very much a literacy project,” Jackson said.

A starburst, which is prevalent in Farris’ work, will bring the design together.

“[It’s a] fashionable way to educate people on how cool Oklahoma is,” said Farris.

 
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