Meet Artist Shandiin DeGroat - El Malpais Community Art Program
The El Malpais Community Arts Program gives artists local to the area a chance to see their work displayed on public lands. Camisha Cordova, Outreach Coordinator for the Public Lands Interpretive Association, had the chance to speak with contributing artist Shandiin DeGroat about his chosen career in art, why he creates, and to understand just who Shandiin is.
Shandiin is 27 years old from Sundance, New Mexico, which is about 2 miles east from Gallup. He is a self-taught Diné (Navajo) artist who enjoys painting mixed media art and being with his family and his animals. Shandiin states that he has always been into creating art “since I could spell my name.” It come naturally to him, as his family consists of “great silversmiths, poets, painters, and musicians.”
Shandiin's art is rooted in graffiti and comic book art and skateboarding culture, working in mediums of aerosol, acrylic, watercolors, graphite, oil, oil pastels, markers and pens.
He grew up around art and music and uses it as a form of therapy to cope with everyday life and the struggles that come with it. His process consists of listening to music when creating artwork. “I like to put on my headphones and zone out on what I can create. Music really plays a big part in my creativeness because it helps bring out the emotions of what I put on a canvas. Sometimes my paintings are planned but most are not, that is the unique part of creating because you cannot know until it is finished.”
Shandiin states that his greatest inspiration was his high school art teacher, who
“would always push me to create and made me believe I could do something with my artistic nature.”
Shandiin has shown at Art 123 in Gallup and always participates in art markets when he gets the chance. He has shown at the “PIVOT” skateboarding exhibition in Santa Fe and was a featured artist for “Envisioning Diné Bikeyah for Families 102 Years from Now,” a two-day conference at the Navajo Nation Museum.
When asked how he felt about the El Malpais Community Art Program, he expressed it was a “great opportunity for artists” and he was “happy to be chosen for this.”
Shandiin's goals are to “Just work on my craft and be a better human.”
La Ventana Natural Arch by Shandiin DeGroat