Don't they know they can't capture a medicine man? - Earl Biss.
The greatest artists reach people and touch their hearts and souls. Their mark is permanent. And alive. And filled with the same magnificent beauty as when the artist themselves first discovered it, molded it and presented it to the world for each of us to find it, drink it in and let it fully encompass our beings transforming us into something better and filling in a space we didn't know we had. Earl Biss accomplishes this in his art. And the award-winning Lisa Gerstner, the brilliantly talented director, producer and editor of this wonderful documentary also accomplishes it through her story- telling of him.
Earl Biss said he fought rigorously to be recognized as an artist first and not an Indian artist because fine art, especially oil paintings had its roots in Europe and success by virtue of being an Indian is very dangerous as it tends to regionalism or sometimes that can too easily be typed as being a fad or something in style - and then that can go out of style and be discarded easily by the public.
Lisa Gerstner takes us on Earl's journey from the Crow Nation in Montana to his time in Santa Fe making and selling jewelry to support himself before his art catapulted him to success and at the San Francisco Art Institute finding and honing his voice; his searching and discovering moments in Europe with his wife at-the-time while entertaining some with a Crow war dance and being further influenced by impressionist painting which was already his gift and chosen practice. He is often said to be the Monet of the 20th Century. And as a young successful artist he at times lived a rock star life. Details are not spared in this documentary. And in Santa Fe showcasing his art work and in galleries in Aspen and throughout the Southwest, Some of his family and friends including Victor Abbo, Kevin Red Star and Paul Zueger share stories about him and his brilliance as well as his connection to the spiritual world.
It's the spiritual that's important. That's the only reason I'm doing this. I'm holding the brush and someone else is doing the painting. Earl Biss
For those that know Earl Biss and his work this documentary will be a delight. For those just being introduced to him and his work it'll be an awakening of their soul to something exquisitely beautiful that they now know exists.
~ Jean Sulli, Actor/Producer
Author Lisa Gerstner’s biography of the late, beloved Aspen-based artist Earl Biss took a fittingly winding and idiosyncratic road to publication. And, like Biss’ work, her book is now earning mainstream acclaim. Gerstner’s “Experiences with...
Published: January 9, 2020
Author Lisa Gerstner recently won two awards for the biography “Experiences with Earl Biss – The Spirit Who Walks Among His People.” She is an award-winning finalist in both the Art category and Biography category of the 2019 Best Book Awards, sponsored by the American Book Fest. Crow artist Earl Biss was a lead painter during the Contemporary Native Art Movement birthed in the 1960s during the formational years of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. Gerstner credits Kansas roots as a fertile field for developing her interest in fine art and the culture of Plains Indians...
Dec. 26, 2019
Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the Aspen times. Dates, times and locations have been edited to reflect upcoming showings. When the famed Crow Nation painter and longtime Aspenite Earl Biss selected Lisa Gerstner...
Published: February 13, 2019
When the famed Crow Nation painter and longtime Aspenite Earl Biss selected Lisa Gerstner as his authorized biographer in 1994, the groundbreaking artist and notorious local character unsurprisingly told the writer he did not want...
Published: January 10, 2019