richard tate

huge realization = walk down memory lane

a few weeks ago i had this huge realization.  i was sorting through rugs for a client and i kept being drawn to a certain style of design.  whenever i conjure up design ideas in my head, they too all seem to have this same theme.  it's natural, modern clean lines and tribal all mixed together.  and these designs that i create set me on fire inside when i get them just right...when they feel perfect to me.  i resonate deeply with certain colors as well.  i've never tried to discover why....but the other day it all just hit me.  everything i do, everything i create, everything i love stems from my childhood.  a few parts of it in particular, seem to have the most influence on my art. i come from a big family, three brothers, my mom and dad.  this largeness meant no family trips on airplanes.  we drove everywhere.  and every summer for as far back as i can remember, we did a cross country road trip.  we would vary the route every year, but it was always somehow linked up with us passing through communities of different native american tribes.  my father (that's he and my beautiful mama, with my and my big bro on the left) has had a lifelong fascination with native american history, artistry, spirituality and it had a deep impact on me.

i have memories of playing with a group of children on a reservation in the desert, and of my dad picking up a native american hitch hiker (gasp) and i tried to share my fig newtons with him.  :)

and every year my father would learn from a new native american artist, how to create authentic native american (functional) art peace pipes, shields, tomahawks (see pics below!).  yes, my father hand carved/made every single one of these pieces.  when i was a kid i didn't realize what skill this required, but now as an adult i am just jaw dropped.  he's amazing.  i used to hover over him while we was beading and watch every little how he did each step with such care and precision.

so...back to my big revelation.  i was passing through the rugs for my clients a few weeks back and BAM it hit me.  everything that i love and everything that i do, goes through this native american, cross country road trip filter.  in that moment of realization, i felt this joy and deep appreciation for those trips.  the trips i often complained of as a kid....i now realize are a huge part of what defines me as an artist.  (just take a look over on the right side bar at my facebook and twitter buttons for a perfect example of this)  and i'm so grateful....even with the car-sickness, stinky boy feet in my face, fighting over who gets to lay down in the back of the station wagon, the stinky animal skull we had to drive all the way back to NY just makes me laugh now.  it's all so perfect and beautiful and i'm so glad that i have these memories.

thanks mom and dad for taking us on the roads less traveled!