The West Old & New December Vol. II Issue XII - Page 4

John Isaiah Pepion Contemporary Native American Ledger Artist This man’s pictures are worth a thousand words... John Isaiah Pepion tells the story of his journey into art best in his own words. He is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, locate along the edge of the Rocky Mountain Front in northern Montana. John began producing pencil drawings of mountains and tipis as a child. He was mentored by his grandfather Daniel "Webb" Pepion, Sr. Recognition for his talent began while he was in 7th grade at Browning Middle School in Browning, Montana. He was chosen to work with highly regarded Blackfeet artist Ernie Pepion, who became a major influence throughout his life. During this time, John learned to incorporate humor in his art work with acrylic paint. John was later selected to work with nationally recognized Blackfeet artist Terrance Guardipee. During this time he learned to mix acrylic paint, stretch his own canvas, and increase his commitment to art. As the public's interest in John's art grew, so did his interest in following his family's footsteps. His uncle Daniel Pepion, Jr., two aunts, and several other family members, had attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While a freshman at Two Eagle River High School in Pablo, Montana, he was a member of a small group of talented students that were selected to visit the IAIA. That same year the Oscar Howe Art Institute, Brookings, South Dakota, offered to enroll him in their program. John's education path initially took a different turn, in 2002 he earned his GED from the Kicking Horse Job Corps in Ronan, Montana. Thereafter, he attended United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he received his Associate of Arts degree in Art Marketing in 2004. John started painting with watercolors in the Plains Indian ledger style in 2005. John went on to graduate from the IAIA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies. The following year, he acquired 1800's ledger paper and began applying the ledger style he developed with ink and color pencils. Today John is an up and coming contemporary ledger artist. He begins each piece by illustrating ideas stemming from his personal life and cultural history. He also likes to incorporate the colorful designs of the Blackfeet. John is pursuing his artistic dream of becoming a professional artist. The West Old & New Page 4