J. D. Challenger was born in Oklahoma and his artistic talent was obvious from a very early age. Although he took his gift seriously as he developed it, he was also very humble about it. He was quoted as saying, "The thing I do best is paint. I prefer to look at it as 'not me' doing it, I'm just the instrument... The Creator, the brush, the paint, and then me."

In order to be in the good company of other artists, he moved to Taos, New Mexico which is known as a mecca for artistic spirits and for it's beautiful landscapes. It was here that J.D. started his career doing just that - painting landscapes. But privately, he felt compelled to learn about and do paintings of Native Americans. These paintings he kept secret though because he was afraid of offending a people that he greatly admired.

One day however, when he was witnessing a Ghost Dance scene being made for a movie, J.D. Challenger had a spiritual revelation of what was to become his life's mission. He became convinced that he was to paint the story of the Native Americans. After being encouraged by his wife, Denise, to show his work to his Native American friends, he received their blessing and was told by a holy man, "There has to be a messenger and he doesn't have to be one of our People. The Creator chooses His own messengers. Your path is to tell our story and educate people about the past and about what is still happening today."

From then on, he painted his portraits of the Native Americans whose past and present was rich in heritage and traditions. His goal was to paint the truth and each portrait had it's own story to tell. Sometimes the story would be one filled with anger as there was much anger felt about the injustices that had been done to the first peoples of North America by the European explorers and later the founders of the Government of the United States.

But through it all, J.D. Challenger just considered himself to be the messenger of these amazing stories. As you enjoy his paintings, you will also see for yourself, the vivid details of their stories as they unfold before you.

JD Challenger pictures

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Video: JD Challenger Native Am. Artwork

Responses to "J. D. Challenger - A brilliant artist who told the story of the Native Americans with a paint brush."

  1. Anonymous says:

    Most beautiful art I have ever seen!! Amazing!!!

  2. Unknown says:

    I bought a JD challenger print Sirograph on Mexican paper titled 'Sacred Vision' of a Sioux Warrior from the greasy grass war. I met him at a showing at Marco Fine Arts in LA in 1995. I am Navajo and Apache. I love his work. The brilliant colors, expressions and realism are astounding. It hangs in my house in a place of honor today. It still speaks to me.

  3. STUNNING WORK!!! Strong sensitive portraits depicting pride through pain. Words cannot really express.

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