the notion that artists deal with unknown mysteries of life is not a new concept in primitive societies the artists were often placed apart from the tribe as shaman they were men and women with special powers to create it is with certain irony that today in the midst of the technological society artists would return deep into the past to uncover these ancient mysteries hidden forces and shamanistic visions in the greater part of the 20th century artists searched the unconscious for different levels of understanding the surrealist movement unveiled the world of dreams and the subconscious today’s artists are moved to describe the forces beyond the saloon one such artist is daniel ol stokke his work emanates from his involvement with American Indian mythology in his work the artist represents a culture in which man believes that through his relationship with the earth and animals is united with the Great Spirit stowe peas work by now he’ll to everyone it’s stark and mystique and was called bizarre by one visitor did want to sculpt his recent show openings anyone with empathy for the Native Americans of the past and present fine snow peas work filled with power dignity and unity of the universe bestow p lived with the Swinomish tribe of Washington’s Puget Sound for three years and is in constant contact with events and paths of contemporary American Indians in the world of everything has a spirit and man is supposed to live in harmony with that spirit rather than trying to enslave it by massively changing the face of the earth the noted writer and teacher T Mike Walker says of stole be Daniel stole peas work superimposes human and animal figures into shamanistic dream shapes his turgid earthy inner visions we’ve fins and feathers skulls and claws and optical incantations calling forth the ancestor spirits who still hold and possess the nonhuman world his work fuses animated archetypes which leap like shadows from an ancient fire hoof footed goat legged pan like creatures wrapped in wolf skins dance with gourd rattles and bonds by arising shapes and shadows of his own dream consciousness stow peas work translates into visual gift songs connecting us back to the source of spiritual preconscious life which can’t be copied exploited or ignored emerging from his mythical mind comes bears Bobcats elk fish and we meet the coyote as a trickster as a lover and as a priest in two suites of wood cuts conceived with brilliant colors and textures stokke explores the mysteries of the mythical coyote in the first suite of 10 prints the artist explores the creation myths one can see coyote changing the color of the Sun creating great floods and causing earthquakes ah Oh in the second suite stolfi reflects the Coyotes involvement with the human animal daniel says to most people this

is new art which is visually unveiling new thought patterns ancient energies and stories which simplify a complex set of events he describes how science is the ability to logically develop a sequence of events but fails to provide an answer to how people feel or how our ancestors felt with courage and humor sculpey has used the coyote to explain these events on seeing the coyote sweet the viewer responds to hidden energies coyote tails are both a preparation for and an understanding of change a false sense of security makes modern man ill prepared for sudden changes and new thought patterns in contrast our ancestors knew that forces in nature are always changing and an awareness of nature signs and symbols is in the breath of life stokke says art is a mirror of the response to feeling that any culture provides my art is experienced as a direct confrontation of an event in a split second an accident one of coyotes many tricks may inexplicably alter one’s life recently the native images studio is published a collection of stories that stole be created when the sweets were completed stolfi writes the narrative to further enrich the stories described in the sweet to him part of the creation of a work is the communication of an idea Marilyn Hansen says in her introduction to the stories the story is a reflection of the artist himself and how he relates to the world like coyote he exists outside the sphere to which mortal judgment supply like coyote he sees the artist serving to remind us that life is not what is or has been rather it is what is possible and always changing the coyote Suites begin with coyote listening to dragonfly dragonfly is a messenger from the Great Spirit and has very special powers whenever coyote encounters dragonfly he lifts his ears and listens carefully for special messages and instructions sometimes he follows them and sometimes he doesn’t stokke has produced the suite using a somewhat unconventional method of relief printing the resulting prints have been termed extraordinary in the terms of boldness color with the directness not often seen in wood cuts the main key block for the design has its image drawn on it and carved out each areas then cut out with the jigsaw and veneers of ash oak or mahogany or applied where the pieces used to be each veneer has a different character of grain producing a unique texture fir plywood is used for the background color the jigsaw sections are individually inked and then fitted back into the key block as one would assemble a puzzle in this manner it is possible to achieve print with 10 to 12 colors while running it through the press four times the contemporary American artist is working and showing his or her work in an environment that often reflects itself through the art critics they find themselves bored on their frequent visits to galleries known to show and support painters printmakers and sculptors who practice their work of today for today Daniel’s work seems to be the exception than many rules magazines daily and weekly newspapers have given his work and their readers vivid positive descriptions of their interest in this work that stole be himself describes his future primitivism one newspaper reporter recently said of stogies work these woodcuts explode with the color of the western sunset the bright rounded shapes of the desert environment contrasts sharply with the coyote starrk lean figure stow Pia’s used different wood grains to create a strong textural diversity coyote rarely encounters any obstacles to the satisfaction of isn’t stick Schewel cravings a sense of euphoria and sexual freedom characterizes activities he plays he makes love and he enjoys life Daniel’s work has already become part of the collections of the Smithsonian Institution the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in the Portland Art Museum the spirit and native heritage of this place named the United States has always been of interest to many living in the countries of Europe South America and Asia the

work daniel has and is creating is well received and collected by those who have or wish for an intense involvement with the spirit world and dealing with modern life with consciousness of traditional cycles of land animal spirit and man a giant example of stole peas most recent work is the product of more than one and a half years work in our reviewer wrote with the current exhibit the artist has introduced a large hand cold edition woodcut entitled shaman vision in this works topi seems to have veered away from his celebration of primitive man’s purely instinctual facet from the shamans head sprouts and arc of animals the eagle the bear the Bobcat the coyote and the salmon the conceptual beauty and professional execution of xiamen vision are above reproach in color and texture sculpey has gone beyond the promise of his former work daniel says of his work in dreams man journeys to the mysterious boundaries which separate him from mythic sources as I draw these images I also conceived of a dream in which man’s reflection to his world is shrouded in mystery magic and imagination these elements are basic in any human experience with which the artist and viewer can see the world again as if for the first time every now and then I wonder whether the mystic will disappear from our lives as demands of contemporary living dominate our energies through words and the powerful art of poetry Daniel can talk of the love and life that he is revealed through his visual native images a poem he wrote to accompany the shaman vision is titled affirmation chant lightning power of the eagle feather breaks through the pale veil of existence the coyote mantle bone tube and fur placed on the head of a powerful woman transfers the spirit and life energy from the skins of the animal the quietness picked up the forced spirit power of the eagle the command of the bear and the elusiveness of the coyote the defenses of the cactus the centuries vibration of Redwood the sacredness of the red willow bark and the healing sent the sage combined from darkness particles of molten energy fire light from the stars form the stone people water spirits and four winds the understanding of these forces when all things are in balance the unique energy destruction the incomprehensible awakened the acceptance of the eternal mystery from his early fascination with realistic depictions of mammals insects and birds stolfi has matured into a mythic round his visions transmit a myriad of meanings is the unfold deep in the roots unconsciousness explicit personal and direct graphic messengers of light passed through snow peas subtle sleight of hand Gordon Gilkey the curator of prints and drawings at the Portland Art Museum wrote to Daniel sang situated as we are in the northwest and knowing of your dedication to preserving the images of the Native Americans of this region feel your fine prints this museum would be most happy to act as a regional repository for your work Donald Jenkins the director of the Portland Art Museum hands your work is a most appropriate addition to our collection both is a fine example of the woodcut art and as an illustration of an Indian legend that is particular significance for our public Dennis banks one of the principal founders and speakers for the American Indian Movement and a collector of Daniels work speaks of the spirit that has been the path of the Native American and is the major force behind Daniels work the eagle is good eagle as it was tens of thousands of years ago still following the ways of its ancestors long since gone and so it is with us if we are to provide our future generations with the same song prayers

language and spirituality that which has given us strength then we must never abandon the teachings of our forefathers we are of this land and we must remain that way forever in his foreword to a book published by the Aptos press featuring snow peas coyote sweets 1 & 2 Dennis banks continues to share his uniquely clear vision of the past present and future Indian world throughout Western mankind’s history it’s been assumed to a large extent that our destinies have been cast either by political economic or military forces religion itself often played a dual role part in the Thrones empires and democracies while offering messages of hope to the doorstep of eternity one rarely finds any effort or work which suggests that all destiny may be the scheme of something of which we have yet to explore or understand the difficulty of course lies in the fact that Western religion could not and probably never will accept a doctrine that contradicts its basic foundation made of Americans religions and beliefs on the other hand have long accepted the premise that our future lies within all living species of this universe one of those species is called coyote but coyote is simply not an animal resembling a fox dog or wolf coyote is the legend of our beliefs strength of our strong the music in the wounds is coyote and when the four seasons change the color of the leaves you’ll see coyote in all its beauty perhaps someday the white men will understand coyote but it won’t be until he’s ready to explore with a new meeting of what life is all about and what it’s not about it was like a fresh rain then when I first saw this hood coming to a man called stupid he is the first sign that coyote is leaping around I thought only coyote came to the visions of Indian people i think coyote is restless and perhaps wants to be let loose upon another generation who is coyote and what is coyote who is coyote anyway to appear in all our legends myths and stories through meetings of spirituality what is it that holds our people together to revere a coyote with such high esteem yet allows us to joke and make fun of well coyote is the purification lodge of the sundance people the birth of a newborn baby and the tears from loved one passed on when you hear the beaver and understand its language and whistle the sound of the Meadowlark then you’ll know what coyote is and should you become angry this day coyote will appear that mischievous old codger and whisper in your ear see I told you I was gonna get you mad today that’s coyote the noted anthropologist teacher and writer low-beam contributed to stow peas coyote sweet 1 & 2 by offering his views of the shaman in the ending world he draws interesting parallels between the shaman and their magical powers in the artists of today the oddest and all societies draws upon the cosmological reference of shamanism and those archaic techniques of ecstasy and symbols which are universal and so clearly formed in the cosmologies of the Native American the artist is close to the shaman in many societies perhaps all it is primarily the shaman that uses visual symbols to explain the other worlds of which he or she must be apart to serve as philosopher dr. psychologist scientists and artists for the society served by his special position that special place is in between worlds the shaman stands at the center of this the secular world which the center of the universe both feet squarely on the

ground freely understanding and being part of the human world but also a part of the sacred time and sacred places from which the world has come and will forever be apart stop his use of coyote is especially pertinent because of the role coyote necessarily plays to a people for the most sensible rational and human view of the burl consider if a world must be viewed as a whole a bunch of parts interdependently connected each part serving the oven how unpractical it is to view the parts of it has separate and disconnected the shamanic world is one in which energy power knowledge is flexible quixotic neutral good bad has its own will and was generally available to all if one knows the rooms thus no one is all good or bad but all things are potentially useful there is a philosophical foundation for extraordinary creative thrusts in these philosophies so coyote is after power thiet lascivious scatological tricky selfish knee yet he creates life save the people rescues the helpless establishes order out of chaos but ultimately tells us that is normal not to be perfect and that it is normal to reach for the stars and occasionally fall on your ass my work my work in the census is the direct census is an expression of my experience with the same values and traditions and aspects that a lot of Indians experience and living on a reservation for about three years in Washington gave me an insight into the thinking and the attitudes of Native Americans so what do you say to people when they walk up to you and they say well I don’t know a thing about heart but I know what I like how you react to that well that’s a good way to start from you know I it’s the people who know our tour the art historians and the curators and the in the art critics there they’re supposed to know about it and they can write and know about it and basically what it gets down those people will really you get basically down to what to you know to either they like it or they don’t and that’s kind of like the diff between a good picture and a bad picture it either works or it doesn’t there isn’t any formula or pat answer you can give to what why one work of arts more successful or enduring than another piece of art everything’s a matter of opinion believe you know you can start with some basic basic I I you know the craft abilities like in the guy draw or paint you know is he really dealing with print media in terms of dealing with wood cuts and etchings with its inherent nature as a medium or izzy is he trying to make an etching look like a silkscreen or do some other kind of thing with them with the material that isn’t inherent in the material and but as far as what the art what the statement makes its using pretty much what a person has in their own visual visual history and what their what their own basic curiosity is a person is which which which gives them ability to see new things or respond on and trust a gut-level response to new art that they haven’t seen before and most people who look at my art when they first start our are pretty taken back with it because they haven’t because of the aggressiveness of it and a a lot of times the sexual overtones of coyotes exploits of running through the the mythical world of of creation and destruction and after a while they see the work it grows on them because they can’t take the image of the strength of

the image out of their their mind I’ve had several people over a period of a year year and a half turn around 180 degrees in terms of disliking my work totally to the point of wanting to collect it and set a lot of people that were fairly conservative in their social life have have brought my work and one of the things I you know mentioned one time I said well I wonder how your neighbors are your friends will respond to that and they said well they really don’t care they know that’s going to shock them and there’s just leave it at that and coyotes like when I’ve been out in the wild and saw them I felt very comfortable with coyotes around they never gave me that gave me a feeling of strength and protection and also the coyote in terms of Indian legends and stories is there’s a creator and and the basis for I refer to it as kind of the Indian Genesis really the old and new testament of the Indian of the old legends that describe the creation of the world and the shape of mountains and why a skunk has its stripes and so on are all related to coyote and then and then a lot of the stories and legends deal with human behavior and why people are are behave the way they do get angry why sexuality is such a such a force a creative force in all cultures and so on is all due to coyotes I refer to coyotes being the new testament to in terms of explaining certain human human characteristics so through my work I try to to show coyote and celebrate and pay respect them in looking at Daniel stole his etchings and lithographs woodcuts and sculptured the viewer is struck by the concept and world vision which vies with equal importance to his art form with works and actions that reveal is ambivalent nature stole Pia’s creator and destroyer giver and Taker like the coyote he acts without knowing good or evil right or wrong and is constantly at the mercy of his desires and as Pablo Picasso said artworks aren’t in themselves the truth there are only lies that show us the truth mmm Wow what are you doing I have to bring him back spider right away hey I know de finest under divine it’s like well on our way is coyotes journey No but I know it was born apparently saw the new colors in the sky I tasted a new flavors in the earth it was not passive

when I hey I know I know we don’t play on my way you we are not play on our way Murray Mednick has created a drama of shamanistic dimension in his recently completed coyote cycle these seven one-act plays blend ancient storytelling techniques with traditional Native American mythology fusing contemporary vernacular with archetypal characters mednax sacred theatre ignites our tribal memories and reconnects us with our preconscious roots by respectfully juggling Hopi creation myths with elements of Greek drama slapstick streetwise language and a natural environment the coyote cycle provides us with a powerful ecological paraone mednax mystic vision evolved from seed sown in pointing the first coyote play which wrote itself through him back in nineteen seventy eight at the patio hills playwrights workshop in Southern California since then the coyote company has worked faithfully with him co-creating the plays out of a series of exercises the result is a ceremonial cycle of plays performed outdoors that plunge actors and audiences alike into an ancient view of existence I wanted to develop a non dramatic presence in the actor which was not dependent on dramatic tension which was not a fiction met Nick explained coyote trickster is on a mission from Earth maker to destroy the evil spirits afflicting man the earth is dying a sacred dump and as the shadow ripens coyote travels through the planet of the spider people to the other side camp where he faces old memories and dead thoughts meanwhile another figure a clown who has lost the power of speech through drug abuse is pitied by spider woman who teaches her to be fully human by the end of the cycle she has become clown divine after listening to old Nana the incarnation of an Apache warrior coyote trickster follows instructions to kill old ways and dies coyote hangs himself and trickster buries himself after which they return to complete the mission in the seventh play coyote finally brings the waterfall to earth coyote and trickster are two sides of the same coin spirit and body split from each other coyote creator enters by falling from the sky a wisecracking smartass with his head in the clouds ready to anything that moves trickster the Coyotes cynical shadow emerges out of the ground and connects us to the long line of the Dead if they could ever get together they would form a complete one hearted being age after age peels away creations come and go and still Spider Woman has troubled knitting these two together unlike the European invaders Native Americans do not see themselves as separate from nature to them the land the air the water the birds the beasts the insects every tree and flower every fish and frog are part of one great being chief seattle expressed this in the concept clearly when he said man did not weave the web of life he is merely a strand at whatever he does to the web he does to himself this we know all things are connected like the blood which unites one family what is man without the Beast if all the beasts were gone man would die from a great loneliness of spirit the earth is our mother and a harley earth is to heap contempt on its creator contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste for one for one thing we knew each other we’ve worked together right now for 10 years but over 10 years right i mean through the provisional theater through the beginning of the provisional via yeah so and then into another to theater groups and then we did this project to get together but but this one is said of the one that that that captured some of the most no not really and i was doing things in the most up and down ups and downs not true it’s an incredible apps if you we’re not going to tell you those stories yes that’s me well yeah I mean I think that that it bottomed out at a certain point and that because it’s interesting cuz i think the project kept us together I mean save the friendship himself in other words what has gone down between coyote a trickster the healed some of the wounds that norborne I made on it on ourselves right on each other which is you know an incidental benefit of the place no would be if it would be just a fact that once a year no matter what happened we’d be working together with the old Nana and I think Mary I’d be unconsciously used those

antagonisms and and insights that we had like four the fourth year was really the worst and he started the play with us coming out and insulting each other and going for the throat and Norbert said a couple of things to me that it almost stopped the play Papa stop the black in the first year you know cuz cuz we know things about each other that that you know that families sort of that sort of knowledge that is for me has always been I would rather leave my family behind I don’t want to live with that not with around people who have those insights or I haven’t I mean doing this I think is made me confront that too you can’t get away from it you know you can’t fool him anymore right thank you let’s see in the beginning of the play she tells the the two-legged wide eyes that she will take care of them as much as you can but there is a limit to what she can do so she puts up a shield to protect them from tricksters vengeance up to a point and movement wise we did I try to do something that is what I think is something that did work come out in an exercise I think maybe four years ago first time that we were one of the first times would um what else that’s it it’s pretty much I think it is a we’ve talked about the shield is having various qualities of either being clear through so I still think of it as a very finely woven spiderweb this very some protection it’s just a really as she said it’s a protection the audience from trickster and at some point middle of the piece she she takes it off this look she just she’s had it just takes it off and its really it comes over comes after the moment um but she wrote she tells me that story about the woman who went around stabbing the flowers and I don’t know why she does it at that moment but it seemed to me that it’s something about realization of some it’s also a device i think you get she mentions to begin with that if if coyote can help me with tricksters vengeance and the waterfall will come to earth and just as in life we have for ourselves either barriers or ways of getting through things and sometimes they appear and disappear and we blame ourselves for them or not being there whatever when they’re there when we need them in there when we don’t sometimes and i think the sheer was one of those devices that helps and no helping coyote and trickster bring the water fulton with yo yo yo yo yo while mednick and company spun on many strands of their dramatic web artist Daniel stole p was demonstrating some coyote synchronicity as his own mythic image return naturally to the theme of coyote trickster part animal part God a Native American image of every man in transition stole be carved coyote sweets 1 & 2 into 20 multicolored woodblock prints which abound with raw energy when Mednick saw a copy of stole his book he invited him to view the plays and asked him to do the graphics and poster for the 1984 santa fe production of all seven plays after stolfi completed the first play pointing he thought the epic cycle called for an image for each of the plays thus the coyote cycle of wood cuts in the present volume the aggressive presence of the relief print the inventive use of the jigsaw color blocks the incised lines of cutting tool the opacity of the ink and the pressure of the printing process all evoked the immediacy and the magic expressed by the characters in the plans the brightness of colors in the light source within the pictures give a visual simulation of mednax legendary reality mednax coyote cycle encompasses past present and future times and stole peas woodcuts are bold interpretations of events in the characters are portrayed with fur and claws part human part animal and mysteriously divining their miraculous transformations the coyote legends prowl through the unique collaboration between artist Daniel Olin stole P and playwright Murray mednick Oren Lyons of the own indignation says in the introduction dystopias coyote cycle portfolio the Coyotes stories are indigenous to this land and the coyote belongs to the Indian nations throughout these lands his message is always the

same the fal ability of the human race peyote trickster is alive and well today eating his own intestines fouling his own nest treating various parts of himself as though they were separate then howling with pain when he stabs his own hand or burns his own anus like coyote contemporary Western man has forgotten his origin neglected his roots but all his flashy technology and power tripping failed to fool anyone other than himself by conquering nature modern man has only succeeded in divorcing himself from reality and the price you must pay is nothing less than ecological disaster on a global scale hence we have the trickster the sacred clown Ayoka jester fool the backward walking contrary who arms with impunity or healed through accident powerful and irresponsible coyote tricksters primordial nature is too innocent to be truly evil yet he represents the spirit of disorder destroyer of boundaries his lust and hunger are never fully satisfied for mednick and still be all consciousness and life are intertwined and connected the images and characters they have created are saturated with mysticism and are outside the bounds of time coyote trickster is a sacred being who skins us to reveal an ancient truth the secret source of these images and plays is in ourselves No you