Poindexter branches out as emerging artist
Cherokee artist Codey Poindexter holds a painting he created to support Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. He is the fourth-quarter artist for an art giveaway sponsored by the Cherokee Phoenix. He has donated a painting. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee artist Codey Poindexter shows a painting he created to showcase his art at the recent Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee artist Codey Poindexter explains the content of an unfinished painting showing a stomp dance. He is the fourth-quarter artist for an art giveaway sponsored by the Cherokee Phoenix. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee artist Codey Poindexter, 23, of Westville, is just beginning a career as an artist, but he’s been creating and studying art since for most of his life.
“I kind of been doing art since I was about 4, but I didn’t really win my first art contest until I was like 16. I won the Adair County phone book contest in high school, so my artwork was featured on the cover of that and that was pretty cool,” he said. “When I got to college that’s kind of when I started exploring what I could really do with my art and figure more ways I could branch out.”
He is majoring in graphic design at Northeastern State University.
“I really enjoy the logos and the things I make on a computer, the artwork. I also really enjoy painting and drawing. So, those are the main three things I really enjoy doing,” he said.
He added that he has created a good mixture of painting and computer work.
“It’s a pretty good balance because that’s what I enjoy doing. The computer work, I do that mainly for T-shirt designs and for people who request logos and things like that,” he said. “I really like to just paint any kind of Native subject matter and incorporate the (Cherokee) language in some of my artwork.”
He said he recently attended the annual Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City and won the “Emerging Artist Award.” And in August, he received the “People’s Choice Award” at the Trail of Tears Art Show held annually at the Cherokee Heritage Center.
He said he won the award at the Trail of Tears Art Show for his painting titled “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.” The painting sold after the show, but Poindexter painted another one like it to take with him to Red Earth.
He said he next wants to try use traditional dyes such as walnut shells, blueberries or bloodroot for future paintings.
“I wanted to experiment painting with those because traditionally that’s what we would have painted with, some type of dyes found in the woods like blueberries or roots, so that’s what I want to experiment with,” he said.
He’s also been thinking about painting scenes from the Trail of Tears. “That’s been heavy on my mind to paint more of that and more local culture around Stilwell and in Adair County and local people. I’d like to showcase some of my community in my work, too.”
This past spring, the Cherokee Phoenix chose him to create the artwork for its annual Cherokee homecoming T-shirt. He said his T-shirt design has brought him recognition locally, and the prints he created using the T-shirt design sold well at Red Earth.
“It’s really been a blessing because it has kind of helped me get started,” he said.
His interest in art started with an aunt who taught him how to draw, and then as he got older he began studying the artwork of Muscogee (Creek) artist Acee Blue Eagle, Potawatomi artist Woody Crumbo and other Muscogee (Creek) artists. These artists influenced him “a lot with what he wanted to do” with his artwork.
“I just liked how they captured their specific traditional culture in their tribes,” he said. “I just thought it was neat they created Native subject matter, and they traveled the world with it to show people. Plus, they did a traditional flat-style painting that people now would be probably be like, ‘man, that’s easy, anybody can do that.’ But that’s really how our people painted.”