Bio/Artist Statment


Chelsea Bighorn was born and raised in Tempe, Arizona, her tribal affiliations are the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes from Montana and the Shoshone-Paiute from Northern Nevada. After earning two associate degrees from Mesa Community College, Bighorn worked as an art instructor at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. It was there that she rediscovered a passion for education and her Native American culture. In 2019, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to pursue a lifelong dream of studying painting at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). In the summer of 2021, she participated in an internship through Journey Home in Santa Fe, and was also an apprentice for Crystal Worl in Juneau, Alaska. She was also a part of the public art project InFlux Arizona where she installed a public art piece in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2016. Bighorn graduated from IAIA in 2021 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts.

Artist Statement

I explore painting and design in a way that merges natural and geometric elements through a variety of mediums, including mixed-medium drawings, painting and cut paper works. The subject matter varies from abstract to realistically illustrative depending on the concept and series. My most recent series of works are hand-cut paper patterns that resemble screens or stained-glass windows, which were the original inspiration. In addition to the inspiration drawn from my Catholic roots, I incorporate traditional beading and weaving patterns from my Native American heritage into my design work. I bring together disparate elements into a design that demonstrates balance and harmony.