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Yellow Bird Sr., Monte - Black Pinto Horse
Disciplines: Clay, Folk/Traditional, Mixed Media, Painting, Sculpture and American Indian Art

Monte Yellow Bird Sr. or better know in the Art world as Black Pinto Horse, best expresses himself through the use of a collection of vibrant colors, gradient hues, shapes and symbols of his traditions. His work reflects his First Nation culture and the applied color imitates the bright, bold application of Expressionism and the 20th century “Fauvism Movement”. The overall compositions of both loose and hard-edged images are designed to create a deep manifestation of culture, faith and love. The symbolism and representational elements speak emotional silence. His key phrase, “We are on this earth for such a short time, if you’re going to shine, shine brightly”, best describes the work of Black Pinto Horse (Monte Yellow Bird).

Monte Yellow Bird Sr. is an Arikara/Hidasta artist who grew up in the town of White Shield, North Dakota. His love of color, the faith he learned from his mother and images from his American Indian/First Nation heritage are all influences helping to create his artwork. Drawing and painting came naturally to him. At a very young age, as soon as he was able to hold a pencil, Monte was drawing. His early Influences included his Sister Nelrene, Brothers Charles, Michael and the Nurses at the Garrison Memorial Hospital. Monte’s choice to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe NM came from the influence of a math teacher in the upward bound program at UND. Black Pinto Horse’s educational influences include Walter Pielh Jr., Linda Olson, Bill Harbort, Wayne Tollefson, Dr. Kathy Cummings and the Institute of American Indian Arts experience.

Black Pinto Horse attended NDSU and majored in History Education, Art Minor, and graduated in 2002 from Minot State University with a BA in the Fine Arts. His focus on collaborating “First Nation” Images with 20th century “Expressionism” has given him a better understanding of himself and has been the key to establishing his own style of works.  His work is a reflection of pride for the First Nation People and a respect for life. His use of color imitates the bright, bold application of Expressionism. His overall compositions of both loose and hard- edged images are designed to create a deep manifestation of culture, faith and love. The symbolism and representational elements speak emotional silence.

Oil painting is his first love and much of his recent work is in this medium, but he also creates works in acrylics, watercolor, printmaking, and ceramics mediums. Sculpting is the most comfortable for him. It allows him to work with Mother Earth, the essence of life. When a person works with the earth, the importance of life and all its creatures reveals itself. Its life Creator has made possible and blesses each day in unique ways. Mother Earth allows us to walk on and with her, making our paths possible and keeping our footsteps safe.

Contact Monte Yellow Bird Sr. - Black Pinto Horse:

“Night Raid”
 23" x 36" - Oils

Night Raid

“Four Moons Passing”
 30"x 40" - Oils

Four Moons Passing

“The Journey to the Lodge
of the Whistles”
23" x 36" - Oils

The Journey of the Lodge and the Wistles

This piece is a tribute to Wolf Trail, the artist’s father and the sacred horse bundles. Wolf Trail’s favorite horses were Blue Roan horses. Seven virtues depicted as Blue Roan war ponies are dispatched from the lodge of “The Chief that sits above”. Love, Compassion, Courage, Honor, Resiliency, Wisdom, and Faith. The large red stripe across the middle represents the bloodstream of humanity. These seven virtues are on a journey in the cover of darkness to bring their gifts to the (sáhniŝ) people. The Northern lights in each square are the spirits from the past that are lighting the way for the horses. Six faint feathers are symmetrically placed around the shield; these feathers are symbolic of the subtle life presence of the six directions.  The ribbons hanging from the feathers represent the male and the female.  The shield is marked with the handprint of the “Holy Father” (atíAx waaRUxti). The beaded horsehair coming from the handprint is the insignia of the Sacred Dog (the Horse Nation).

Four Moons Passing is a composition that surrounds its description around the rights of passage or stages of womanhood and the path with the creator. The four moons represent 4 stages of life, the new moon-conception, Crescent moon-childhood, Half moon-adulthood, Full moon-Grandmother. The Tree of life conveys to lineage of the past, present and the future of the foundations of our societies. The 4 leaves are the change of life. the Blue Buffalo is the spiritual and ceremonial representation the First Nation people, 28 markings on the skull are the cycle of spiritual cleansing. 6 directions are displayed by 6 squares. The curved white path is the path that leads to the the center of the creator and his radiance of love to the world. 2 very small spirit lights, 1 in the upper red protection color is the you and the other next to grandmother moon in the blue gentle color is your mother. 4 stripes are the artist's trademark to represent being one with creator.

The Lodge or House of the Whistles, This is the Arikara translation for the Sundance Ceremony.“ The Arikara claim that this was a hard dance, for they had to dance four days and nights without eating or drinking.  Strikes Enemy (Arikara) danced this dance several times,” Murie. The Ceremony consisted of fasting, prayer, dancing and sacrifice for the benefit of the People. This depiction by Black Pinto Horse is of six horses (sacred dog) on a journey to the Lodge of the Whistles; each of them having unique parts to represent the people. The lead purple paint horse has one Eagle feather from its mouth - the one Truth. The Second Black Pinto Horse with the Red hand print on the shoulder - Touch the Enemy and surrounded by mystery. The Third Green Paint Horse with the shield marked by the buffalo is the strength and protection – spiritual growth. The Fourth Blue Paint Horse with the four feathers and the sign of lightning – from heaven and the elements from all four directions. The Fifth Green Paint Horse with the spear and two Eagle feathers – symbolize justice of the two worlds.  The Sixth Blue Paint Horse is the pure nature of innocence. All six Horses are marked on the nose with the four directions and a circle around their eyes to better see the enemy. The Bluish/Green diagonal Eagle feather with the red hand print on it represents the unbalance ness of our society as spiritual based people. The hand print is the ownership to our own unbalanced status and the responsibility to change this through prayer and sacrifice. The Tree of life represents both the enemy of this ceremony as well as the past, present and future nations. The Four Squares represent the directions and the small white dots are the pure nature of these directions. Spirit lights of the relatives that have passed on, shine on a biomorphic background of chaos as they pity us in this life.

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