Frank Tuttle (Yuki-Wailaki/Concow Maidu) was born in Oroville in 1957. Raised in Oroville and Ukiah, where he graduated from Ukiah High School, in 1981, he received a B.A. in Fine Arts, with a special emphasis in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University.

Tuttle’s work is inspired not only by the philosophy of his heritage, but also by the forms, textures, and colors present in the natural materials used in Native American ceremonial objects. An interest in time, space and place, and change and permanence are reflected in Tuttle’s images and in the suggestions of three-dimensionality in his work.

"I feel free to use my collective tribal traditions. I can still share in these ways, visit these places, and arrive at my own understanding. I look and listen, and I see new shapes and colors taking on the same meanings for me. It is not reinterpretation, but an evolvement of my own personal symbols."*

Tuttle’s first show was in 1981; since then, he has exhibited his work in museums and galleries throughout Northern California, at the Native American Center for the Living Arts in Niagara Falls, NY and at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. In 1987, he curated Songs Still to Come...,, a group exhibition of contemporary Native American art at the Mendocino Art Center.

He has been a lecturer in Native American Studies and Native American Art at Mendocino College in Ukiah, where he lives with his family. When not painting, he serves as director of community outreach for the Consolidated Tribal Health Project in Redwood Valley.


*excerpted from The Extension of Tradition (Crocker Art Museum, 1985)