A California street artist with South Dakota roots is featured at the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City.
Fredrick Clarin grew up in Rapid City and is enrolled with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. As he tells SDPB’s Victoria Wicks, he uses spray paint to create art that often follows Native themes.
In addition to being a painter, Clarin also is a sculptor and silversmith. He says he was in Las Vegas selling silver when he saw street painters working and decided to try it himself.
Now he’s mastered the art.
On Saturday afternoon, he demonstrated his craft in Art Alley in Rapid City. Wearing a respirator mask and coveralls, he sprayed paint on a canvas and used crumpled paper or a tool to scrape away the top paint to reveal layers of color beneath.
This is not like graffiti or tagging. Street artists paint on a flat surface, Clarin says.
“They usually work in the bigger city areas—San Francisco, Las Vegas—and they’ll be set up on the streets, on the strips, and they’ll do this style of painting, and then they’ll sell their paintings right there, and just lay them right out, you know, right on the sidewalks or right there, and that’s why I kind of call it street art, because, I mean, that’s where they’re making their money.”
Clarin uses canvases prepared with gesso or paper with a waxy finish so the paint floats on the surface and remains malleable.
The painting Clarin created in Art Alley is now hanging high up on a building near the 7th Street entrance. That painting will remain there until someone paints over it or takes it.
The paintings in the Sioux Indian Museum, located inside the Journey Museum, are available for viewing until May 30.