By Jeff Ribitski, WyoToday
The legacy of art is one that intrigues most of us at some level. However, when one studies the greatest artists throughout history there is always a message, sometimes buried within the theme, sometimes bold and striking as soon as you see it.
Local acclaimed artist, Robert Martinez is such an artist who, through the use of an airbrush, has gifted the community with a piece of historic and futuristic art that will remain an inspiration for generations. Located on a wall in front of a Northern Arapaho office building on High School Hill (formerly High Plains Power), this mural covers the entire wall.
“I painted the first mural in 1997 after being asked by a high school class to design a work to be completed by the class called Raising Awareness Through Media,” Martinez stated.
Ultimately, the class was unable to complete the project and Robert decided to finish it himself. That first mural stood for 25 years as a symbol of Northern Arapaho history.
“Now,” says Martinez, “I am looking to the future for my message to everyone.”
Martinez claims that he has always had the talent as an artist, but after attending Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, he took it to the next level.
He and his artistic colleague, Bruce Cook, who is also an artist that sculpts in traditional Arapaho and Heida style from the Southeastern tribes in Alaska and Northern Canada, started the Northern Arapaho Art Society which shows art pieces all around Wyoming.
“This message begins with a buffalo, the symbol of strength for our tribe,” Martinez says, “then I depict a mountain man that represents the connection between Native Americans and white men who opened this country.”
“Pretty Nose, a female tribal leader who represents the strength of our women is next and she is followed by native girls and both white and native children mixed together looking to the East from where the future comes with the rising sun,” Martinez continued, “None are white or native, they are portrayed in blue to represent the blending of the cultures, where there are no differences between us. Finally, the eagle that represents the future of all mankind. Colored accurately and the symbol of American pride and of Arapaho pride. This is the future I see.”
Art is taking a place in Riverton history as we see more and more pieces displayed in and on businesses throughout the community. Perhaps there is a place for art as an attraction in our community? For now, you can see history and the future in the creation phase through the work of Robert Martinez.