When Oreland C. Joe Sr.’s first-grade teacher encouraged him to continue his crayon drawings, he knew he wanted to be an artist. The son of a Southern Ute father and Navajo mother, he grew up in a family that understood and inspired his creativity and talents. Growing up on the Navajo reservation not only taught him Native American traditions and customs, but also provided him with a spiritual awareness.
One of Joe’s most influential and significant experiences was traveling to France in 1978 with a group of Native American dancers. This first experience with Europe and European art and culture was transforming. His later excursions to Paris museums and the Palace of Versailles opened up a new world to him. A visit to Italy further broadened his horizons.
Joe’s sculpture Buffalo Sunrise was the 2006 Prix de West Purchase Award winner. In 2008, he created the Ute Maiden and Ute Warrior bolos, the first dual Prix de West collectors’ bolos.