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Pat Pruitt

Pat Pruitt is a 21st century Pueblo man. A relatively new personality in the often staid realm of tribal art. Pruitt’s unpredictable art forms have won him several distinctions in juried competitions, including the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Indian Fair. His emphasis on aesthetics is reflected in clean line designs and the use of industrial materials. These designs incorporate aspects of modernism, digital technology, and the ”found object,” challenging notions of what constitutes art. Pruitt uses an array of diverse and exotic materials, such as carbon fiber, rubber automotive belts, and stingray leather, with stainless steel; continuing the inevitable progression as Native art moves away from romanticized stereotypes of earth colors, holistic materials, and pre-industrial quaint villages and towards a new concept of what it means to be a Native American today.

Pruitt began making jewelry twenty years ago, studying under silversmiths Greg Lewis and Charlie Bird, working in traditional materials such as silver and copper, and learning traditional stamp and hammer techniques that give him a firm foundation in jewelry fabrication, tool development, and general craftsmanship. After studying mechanical engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Pruitt took a position in a prototype machine shop, building one-off components for various mechanical devices. Today, Pruitt’s jewelry designs retain traditional Native undertones, but with a contemporary edge. Pat Pruitt—who includes among his goals, “to push the envelope on what is considered Native”—lives in Paguate, New Mexico, one of the six villages of the Pueblo of Laguna.