Thursday, June 9, 2011

Artist Profile- Walter Howato

Walter Howato was born in 1921 and died in 2003. He was a member of the Reed Clan and was active carving from the 1940’s until his death.  He attended the Santa Fe Indian School and was recruited by Walt Disney Studios after his graduation along with Navajo painter RC Gorman, where he said he did everything from performing at Disneyland to painting and interior decorating.  When he left Walt Disney and returned home to the Hopi reservation, he went into construction as a heavy equipment operator and carved on the side. In the 1950’s he helped build Glen Canyon Dam.

By the early 1960’s he began focusing more on carving and in the mid-1960’s he was approached by Tucson trader Tom Bahti who wanted to commission him to make a replica of an old Shalako Kachina doll.  He agreed and began experimenting with techniques to make the doll look old. He eventually developed a method of mixing his pigments with a white clay called tuuma.  He then built up multiple layers of this pigment/ clay mix and used a wet brush to diffuse the paint.  He also used very old and wind-worn cotton root. 

Hopi Priest Kachina doll by Walter Howato

One Horned Priest Kachina doll by Walter Howato

Two Horned Priest Kachina doll by Walter Howato

Zuni Home Dancer Kachina doll by Walter Howato

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