Featured Artist Brett Hall

Artist Brett Hall creates historically accurate portraits of Native Americans, bringing them to life for the observer. See more of his portfolio by visiting his website.

 

“Steadfast” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Steadfast” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20”

 

I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. And my teachers–from kindergarten through high school—knew it too. When high school graduation rolled around, I left a self-addressed envelope for my diploma and headed out two weeks early for the Colorado Institute of Art. At the end of that two-year course, I applied to and was accepted by Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design.

 

“Stoic” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Stoic” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20”

 

But love brought a change in those plans. I returned to Denver with my newly-wed wife and jumped into commercial art. Newspapers, magazines, print shops, corporate art departments and ad agencies all filled the next forty years. I progressed from Designer to Art Director to Director of Marketing to Sales.

 

“Spirited” Acrylic on Panel, 12” x 12” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Spirited” Acrylic on Panel, 12” x 12”

 

Then I woke up one day and realized that I hadn’t drawn anything in fifteen years. I began to draw again and soon entered my first show.

 

“Dark Smile” Acrylic on Panel, 12” x 12” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Dark Smile” Acrylic on Panel, 12” x 12”

 

The curator praised my work but said I needed to focus. He said “If you do everything, people will remember nothing.” I took that to heart and began to think about what I was passionate about.

 

“Forgotten” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Forgotten” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20”

 

At that time, I had been selling yearbooks to Indian schools on reservations. I met some amazing people in remote off-the-map locations. And I saw that, despite a dark history of stolen lands and outright slaughter, they had survived with dignity and pride.

 

“Two Spirit” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Two Spirit” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 20”

 

It’s a story that has been repeated around the world—the demise of indigenous peoples, the destruction of their environment, and the social injustice they suffered.

 

“Contentment” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 40” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Contentment” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 16” x 40”

 

I decided that this would be my focus—to tell the story of the Natives in this country. For forty years I had been honing my skills in “telling and selling” with advertising images. Now I had another story to tell.

 

“Guarded” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 11” x 14” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Guarded” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 11” x 14”

 

My portraits are researched in the Library of Congress archives. Viewers often ask if the subjects posed for me. That’s when I know I have accomplished my goal—bringing Natives from 100-150 years ago to life. The viewer sees the stories in the eyes of real people, not an old photo that looks long ago and far away.

 

“Resilience” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 18” x 24” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Resilience” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 18” x 24”

 

I was humbled when an elderly Native cried looking at my portrait of a young Hopi girl. It reminded him of a girl in Indian Boarding School when the government took them from their parents. “Kill the Indian to save the child.” They cut their hair, took their clothes and beat them when they spoke their Native tongue.

 

“Hopi Dreams” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 15” x 30” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Hopi Dreams” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 15” x 30”

 

Art can disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. Maybe I can do that—disturb those who would like to forget, and comfort those who remember.

 

“Sweetgrass Sorrow” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 24” x 18” by artist Brett Hall. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Sweetgrass Sorrow” Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas, 24” x 18”

 

My goal is to give a voice to those who have been silenced, give eyes to those who do not see and give a heart to those who do not want to care.

 

Artist Brett Hall invites you to follow him on Facebook and Patreon.

 

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