'Doodles' land artist a spot in museum exhibit

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, March 28, 2013

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(Times photo - Shondiin Siversmith)

Graphic design artist Eunique Yazzie and her son Kanyan Yazzie pose during the Ch'ikeeh baa Hozho art exhibit in February.

I call them doodles," said Eunique Yazzie.

Her doodles are what landed her in the Navajo Nation Museum for her first real art exhibit: "Ch'ikeeh baa Hozho: A Contemporary Native Female Arts Showcase," presented by Ziindi.

"In any way, I do not call myself a fine artist. I just doodle and I like to express my creativity in different mediums," said Yazzie, 31.

Yazzie has three pieces hanging in the Navajo Nation Museum, and she said much of her work is highly influenced by music.

"I just love music so I bring that into my art by listening to different genres and seeing what happens to my drawings," Yazzie said. "Whenever I start doodling I will listen to a certain genre and see if it differs from another genre."

For her piece "Heart of Mine," a piece on display at the Navajo Nation Museum, she said she was listening to a slow R&B soul song when she started drawing out her piece, and her feelings evolved into the shape of a heart.

Yazzie said she originally became a part of Ziindi, an independent online arts magazine that has started sponsoring art shows, as a volunteer for their first art exhibit opening last year. "They asked me to be a part of this next round, I was amazed," she said.

"I've worked really hard to get to this point, and it's actually happening," said Yazzie about finally being able to share her artwork on the Navajo Nation. "It was one of my major goals is to go back and share this design world with people."

"I do what I love and I'm very passionate about it. I never wanted the recognition, I just always wanted to help people," Yazzie said.

As for being selected as one of the 15 artists whose work is displayed in Ch'ikeeh baa Hozho, "It feels very very empowering. It makes you feel like you can do it," she said.

Yazzie said she is always designing because she likes to move from one project to the next. Her most recent project included wedding invitations with a Navajo wedding basket design.

She feels that being a graphic designer allows her to explore different media. For example she is currently working on designs for shoes as well as iPhone and iPad cases. "Being in graphic design has so many meanings and areas of expertise," she said.

"Basically I want it to say that I love simplicity," Yazzie said of her artwork. "I love the simplicity of having something drawn out and there is no design. I didn't plan on drawing that; it just happened."

"Expect the unexpected, but always go forward knowing that with every mistake you can always make a change," said Yazzie. "I take it to the next level all the time."

Yazzie said she believes that as an artist "anything that you put your mind to, you can do it. As long as somebody finds an interest in it, you're always going to find people wanting more."

Yazzie has been a graphic designer for 12 years, first exploring her passion while she was a student at Chinle High School. "Everything that I owned I basically redesigned," Yazzie said, including her bags, shoes, and clothes throughout high school.

"I was known for being really super-creative and I would apply it to whatever I did," Yazzie said. Throughout high school she was presented with different designing opportunities like hairdresser, costume designer, makeup artist and set designer.

"I always drew and painted, but I just didn't think I could take it farther," Yazzie added. "I've always loved the arts."

Yazzie is currently a graphic designer with Republic Media out of Phoenix, and continues to provide freelance services to interested parties.

Yazzie said she looks at graphic designs from two perspectives. "Graphic design has a very technical side and a very artist creative design side, and that all meets in the middle where all of that has to work perfectly."

"You're trying to get an immediate reaction from somebody who looks are it," Yazzie said. "It gets the point across but it also displays visually what the meaning is behind it."

"It's like design in its most stressful situation, and I love it," Yazzie said of her day job with Republic Media. "I love that challenge, the challenge of problems coming my way. People want to see it a certain way and I have to figure out how to get it there."

Originally from Chinle, Yazzie now resides in Tempe, Ariz. with her five-year-old son Kanyan Yazzie. She got her bachelor's degree in visual communications from Collins College in 2003. She is Naaneesht'ezhi tachii'nii, and born for Ma'ii deeshgiizhinii

If you are interested in Yazzie's artwork or services she can be contacted at eunique.yazzie@gmail.com.

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