Randall Blaze

Oglala Lakota
(b. 1949)

Randall Blaze grew up in eastern Montana and after high school, enlisted in the US Navy. Returning to Montana, Blaze began college as an English major, but an art survey course during his junior year sparked a reawakening and a return to his childhood love of art. Blaze earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from the University of Montana in 1977 and completed additional graduate coursework in studio art there the following year.

A visual artist, Blaze focused on jewelry making for the first decade of his career. He then switched to working primarily in ceramic, incorporating his jewelry techniques into his ceramic designs, in addition to painting, works in glass and other mediums. More than two decades later, Blaze returned to his love of metals and began working in bronze.

The beauty of bronze is that once I have created a piece, I can have an edition of 25 to 30 made – for the life of the mold – freeing me up to be creative in other ways.

In all his work, Blaze draws inspiration from ancestral designs.

Within my visual journey, I seek to pay homage to my ancestors. I help record and integrate visual elements of the Lakota Nation into the contemporary mainstream of the world around us.

The artist lives on one hundred acres in an incredibly remote and austere section of the Pine Ridge Reservation on top of Cuny Table at the edge of the Badlands in South Dakota. It is the land of his ancestors; a landscape of canyons and vast open spaces. It’s a peaceful place but harsh, where the relentless sun is cooled only by a few fluttering cottonwoods in the summer and where windswept snow drifts and sculpts its own art in the winter. It is a land of amazing sunrises and sunsets.

It is here that Blaze has created a sanctuary of art where a seemingly endless maze of mosaic floors lead through a jaw-dropping art gallery and not a surface seems untouched by the artist’s hand. With sustainably-sourced windows and doors, architectural pieces throughout, even a bathroom sink liked with glass pebbles, a granite mosaic that extends to an outside wall … and art, all the art. The compound – there is really no other word for it – is also a fully-equipped art center, with studios for ceramics, metalsmithing, painting and two-dimensional design, and Blaze welcomes K-12 students for workshops as part of his Artist in Schools role, as well as adults for individual art instruction.

Blaze has served as an Artist in Schools for the South Dakota Arts Council since 1999 and hopes to be a model of expertise and an inspiration to students interested in developing a working knowledge of various artistic mediums.

I travel to schools all over the state, although I am partial to working with kids on the rez, as it brings me full circle with my life and heritage. I was taught the concepts and techniques of art by a generation before me, and I will pass that knowledge on to a generation after me.

While enthusiastic about teaching, Blaze remains truly enamored by metal, and has continued working with bronze for over twenty years. 

Art is a passion, but making it into a business has involved going all over the country for major exhibitions. A lot of my success revolves around winning awards. Winning awards opens markets, and I always encourage young artists to enter shows, especially shows with competitions. Competition inspires me do my best work and each one brings me back to square one in the creative process. But attending shows is also about cultural diversity and, for me, sharing the essence of what the Lakota tribe is, on a cultural level.

It also makes me think of the pride my Oglala ancestors would feel counting coup. It makes me feel like a modern-day warrior.

And if Blaze is a warrior, he has definitely brought back his share of successes in battle, receiving dozens of national awards over his four-decade-plus career. Accolades include Artist Fellowships at the Smithsonian, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, a book Heartdreams and Legends published in 2000, several prestigious Best of Division and First Place Awards, and many others. Blaze has traveled internationally as well, participating in exhibitions in Japan, Germany and Australia. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections.

Seven Fires Art is deeply honored to list for sale the complete current catalog of works in bronze by nationally recognized Oglala Lakota artist Randall Blaze.

Photo credit LakotaFunds.org

NOTE: Please contact Seven Fires Art before ordering works by Randall Blaze. Some items may not be in inventory.