Jason Reed Brown
Jason R. Brown (Koyukon Athabascan) was born in 1971 in Tacoma, Washington. He spent much of his childhood moving back and forth between his parents and relatives, which exposed him to the urban and rural landscapes of both the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Living in the Alaskan wilderness produced memories of the land and his family, which helped to sustain him while adjusting to urban city life.
For Brown, reading, art and music were a means of escape from the violent environment of the city. After graduating from high school Brown continued to develop his drawing skills while supporting himself as a laborer. His love for drawing led him to work as a tattoo artist and muralist before he learned about the Institute of American Indian Arts.
At IAIA Brown discovered a passion for sculpture, especially metal sculpture. During completion of his Associate of Fine Arts degree, Brown began working for blacksmith Tom Joyce, another artist exploring the near-limitless potential inherent in steel. Returning to IAIA, Brown simultaneously completed his studies while earnestly exploring traditional techniques in different metals. Thus, Brown was introduced to the principles of blacksmithing and the reward of combining it with original designs early on. After graduation, Brown worked with other established blacksmiths in northern New Mexico. With each blacksmith, Brown was able to acquire new technical skills as well as "imaginative potential." Brown also attended and graduated from Turley Forge School of Blacksmithing in Santa Fe.
Graduate, Turley Forge School of Blacksmithing, August 2001
Associate of Fine Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts, 1999
General Diploma, Bellingham High School, 1989
2001 - present: Hammerhand Forge, Bellingham, WA
Artist - Blacksmith
Bellingham, Washington is where I finished my public education and I chose to return after art school because I found familiar ground the best place to combine Northwest Coastal Indian art and steel. While also fulfilling the architectural niche as an experienced blacksmith, I produce an evolving body of sculpture and original, functional hardware. If the hardware I design is the speech from my hands, then sculpture is their song. Blacksmithing has shaped my mind, tempered my hand, and sharpened my eye.
2001 - 2003: Harmony Forge, Santa Fe, NM
During the time I spent working for and learning from Mr. Ward Brinegar, I exercised every skill I possessed and rapidly added new ones, including hammer texturing, power hammer operation and maintenance, lathe operation, gas forge construction, and shop layout. I also began forging and tempering my own tools such as hammers, tongs, punches, and chisels. I was allowed to work on my own projects and this privilege was critical in helping me learn to adapt my drawings into steel. Working for Mr. Brinegar enhanced all of my previous experience by utilizing every skill I possessed on a daily basis, not only embedding that knowledge in my head but also in my hands through constant practice.
2001: Spirit Forge, Taos, NM
I spent a brief but productive period assisting Ms. Rachel Miller as she created her own line of custom interior ironwork such as mirror frames, end tables, and candleholders. I spent my time in her shop as a journeyman, entrusted to independently forge plant-based forms with sinuous, flowing lines. Forging nature-based patterns to specific dimensions provided me with concrete reinforcement of the hammering skills I had brought with me, and the variety of finished pieces exemplified the combination of beauty, strength, and functionality inherent in hammered steel. Ms. Miller also tutored me in oxy-acetylene and stick-welding techniques, which increased both my technical ability and creative flexibility.
1998 - present: Tom Joyce Architectural Blacksmithing, Santa Fe, NM
Mr. Joyce introduced me to the blacksmiths’ routine and history, while also opening my eyes to steels’ sculptural potential beyond welded, hollow forms. While working for him I absorbed techniques both traditional and innovative, and gained a true respect for his tools and what they shaped. While not a traditional apprentice, I experienced such fundamentals as tapering, upsetting, splitting, piercing, striking (sledgehammer work, my favorite activity), and the power hammer and hydraulic press. I was involved in the production and installation of a myriad of Mr. Joyce's projects, an association I continue to enjoy to this day. Mr. Joyce also introduced me to the blacksmith community, which extends laterally across the globe and temporally back to the world’s first nail.
Commissions - Sculptures
2011 - Coin Fish
2011 - Doyon, Ltd. Corporate logo
2008 - Solar System Mobile, Bellingham, WA
2007 - Merchbot Centurion, Bellingham, WA
2003 - Raven and Coppermaker (with Ed Noisecat)
2002 - Thunderbird Coppers (with Ed Noisecat)
2002 - Moon Mask (with Ed Noisecat)
2001 - The Thinker
2010 - Legends Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2010 - Iron 2010, forged sculpture exhibition, Museum of Metal Arts, Memphis, TN
2003 - Gesture Without Motion, solo sculpture exhibition, Institute of American Indian Arts Museum (IAIA), Santa Fe, NM
2001 - Blair Carnahan Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
2001 - IAIA Museum Alumni Invitational
1999 - IAIA Museum Graduation Exhibition
1997 - 1999 - IAIA Art in the Raw
Awards and Honors
2010 - Second Place, Metal Sculpture, Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
2009 - First Place, Metal Sculpture, Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
2007 - First Place, Metal Sculpture, Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
1999 - Dean's list, IAIA
1998 - Dean's list, IAIA
1997 - First Place, Sculpture. American Indian Higher Education Consortium Conference, Rapid City, SD
1996 - Finalist, Chalk Art Exhibition, Bellingham, WA