Arthur Short Bull is a brilliant watercolorist whose vision strives to capture the spirit of his Oglala heritage. What I hope to achieve through my work is to help others see and experience the spirit that exists in all things, states Short Bull.
Being raised in a traditional family on the Pine Ridge reservation gives Short Bull special insight into the history, culture and spirituality of the Lakotas. Arthur’s great-grandfather was Grant Short Bull, uncle to famed artist and historian, Amos Bad Heart Bull and younger brother of He Dog. In 1930, the last of the old men who rode with Crazy Horse, He Dog and Grant Short Bull were two of Mari Sandozs sources for her book, Crazy Horse … Strange Man of the Oglalas.
A recipient of the 2006 First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital Program Fellowship, Arthur’s project involved utilizing his Wounded Knee series of paintings and poems as a vehicle to promote Lakota culture and history. He continues to develop this series as an educational tool to reach out to the Native community, primarily the youth, to increase their knowledge of Native history, especially in regards to Wounded Knee. He also was a 2009 First Peoples Fund Business in Leadership Fellowship recipient.
Arthur was commissioned to paint one of the official White House ornaments for the 2007 Christmas tree used in the Blue Room. He also painted three ornaments for the 2007 Nebraska State Capitol Christmas Tree. In keeping with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, artists from around the country were commissioned to paint specific scenes on the softball-sized ornaments sent to them. Short Bulls challenge: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Harrison, Nebraska. He is a frequent artist-in-residence at Agate Fossil Beds Monument.
Long recognized for an ongoing series on Wounded Knee and images of the Ghost Dance, Arthur presents new work on this theme as well as images inspired by the Siouan mystery clan societies and shamans. New work appears in another ongoing theme, Wind Women. Short Bulls recent projects include Lakota Dreams — Black Elks Vision as well as an ongoing series honoring Tasunka Witko (Crazy Horse).