Christopher “Day One” Carlson paints a portrait of Chief Bobtail during the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration recently. Carlson is known for his modern take on First Nations artworks. The Maskwacis artist now lives in Calgary and works full time on his art. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Artist from Maskwacis blends modern art with First Nations culture

Blending modern art and hip-hop culture with Indigenous culture is Christopher Day One Carlson

An artist has taken his First Nations culture and found a way to blend it with modern street art.

Christopher “Day One” Carlson was at the National Indigenous Peoples Day in Ponoka recently, showcasing his work along with the dancers and singers.

Originally from Maskwacis, Carlson now lives in Calgary painting his unique pieces full time.

“I paint in a style that I call neo-traditional,” said Day One. “I take Aboriginal art and I put a modern spin on it.”

The closest style he can think of is that his work blends street art and Indigenous art. Day One has been able to make his passion full time work.

His painting with non-aboriginal people has become quite popular but Day One says he has received mixed feelings from First Nations folks. Some of that has to do with one side worrying that Day One’s work is too modern and that it misses out on traditional messages.

“Some people really like what I’m doing and some people are more traditional,” said Day One, adding that there are some who worry about how he portrays historical figures such as Lakota leader Sitting Bull.

So, what is his motivation?

“Being a native artist, I’m pigeon-holed. There’s a lot that’s expected of me and it’s predetermined what I’m going to paint and what I’m going to release,” said Day One. “I like to be different.”

He’s friends with many local Indigenous artists and it’s their work that motivates him to use a different style of painting.

One of the more memorable pieces he has done was an Idle No More painting of a lady from Halifax, N.S. carrying a feather aloft in front of a riot squad. “That was a pivotal painting for me.”

After it was released, the painting was displayed at McGill University and published in a few magazines. It created more movement for Day One and more people booking him for work.

There is another reason why he blends street art with traditional art; that is to reach a younger audience, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. “It gets the kids to look into stuff.”

When they see a painting of Sitting Bull with that modern twist, Day One says those younger kids start to look into who the Lakota chief was. “It’s working, he concluded.

Just Posted

Students at St. Augustine honour fallen Ponoka soldiers

The school’s Remembrance Day ceremony recognized the sacrifices of past soldiers

Ponoka Legion commemorates 100th anniversary of Armistice Day

Ponoka residents pack Legion hall during Remembrance Day

Ponoka Secondary Campus alumni provides example of how to remember those who were lost

School’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony focuses on 100th anniversary of WWI armistace

No pumping into Gull Lake for 5 years due to carp concerns

Worries of carp in the Blindman River has put a hold on pumping water into Gull Lake

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

WATCH: Remembrance Day in Lacombe fills LMC

2018 marked 100 years since the end of First World War

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Carjacking sees 76 year old woman’s vehicle stolen

Wetaskiwin RCMP with Crime Reduction Unit charge robbery suspects

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Remember When: Looking at Suzan Heriot Sturgeon’s artwork

A Ponoka and Lacombe artist is recognized and remembered

Reflections: A special tribute to Suzan Sturgeon

A self-taught artist who lived in the Lacombe and Ponoka area is recognized

Ponoka Food Bank gets a leg up from PES students

Ponoka Elementary School students show leadership in food fundraising campaign

Most Read