Artist, Doctor, Activist
May it be beautiful before me. May it be beautiful behind me. May it be beautiful below me. May it be beautiful above me. May it be beautiful all around me. In beauty it is finished. In beauty it is finished.
Lines from the Navajo Night Chant and prayer
Photo is Courtesy of Chip Thomas, All Rights Reserved
Speaking @ GCC on
Friday, March 25th
12 pm to 1:30pm in the Student Union
“His artwork is humble, peaceful, and full of life.
It has a spirit: It’s alive and speaks to you, creating a connection.”
~Jerilyn Yazzie, GCC Student
Chip Thomas started working in a small community between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley called Inscription House in 1987. He’d always been drawn to photography and built a darkroom shortly after arriving on the Navajo Nation. His passion photographically is shooting black and white in a documentary style inspired by people like Eugene Smith, Eugene Richards, Joseph Koudelka and others. Going out and spending time with people in their homes and family camps, Thomas has come to know his patients as friends, and found the visits enhanced doctor/patient relationships by helping him be a more empathetic health care practitioner.
Drawn to street art, graffiti and old school hip-hop, Chip was attracted to the energy of the culture in the 80s. Though miles away from the epicenter, he thought of myself as a charter member of the Zulu Nation and would travel to New York City to see graffiti on trains, on buildings and in galleries.
A trip to Brasil in 2009 coincided with a difficult period in Chip’s life. Though not wasn’t looking for an epiphany, he was fortunate to stumble upon a passionate group of artists working on the street who befriended him. It was during this time that Chip began to appreciate how photography could be a street art form. Infatuated with the feeling he got being with the artists in Salvador do Bahia, he wanted to find a way to keep that vibe going and began pasting images along the roadsides of the Navajo reservation in June 2009. Read more here.
To learn more about Chip Thomas’ story and journey
through art, medicine and activism,
come join us March 25th from
12pm to 1:30pm in the Student Union.