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Choctaw artist to be featured in Smithsonian American Indian event

Dylan Cavin, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a Norman resident, will be honored as the featured artist at Choctaw Days the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. on June 21-22.
by Heather Warlick Published: June 18, 2013

A young, emerging Oklahoma artist is bringing a contemporary aesthetic to traditional Choctaw imagery.

Most recently, “Legacy,” by Dylan Cavin, 36, of Norman, was featured on the official 2013 Red Earth Festival T-shirts, posters and billboards.

The graphic and bold image is of a Sioux chief Cavin painted last summer.

A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Cavin will be the featured artist at Choctaw Days at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The event, Friday and Saturday, is designed to provide a Choctaw Nation cultural experience to thousands of visitors.

“It's an important event for the Choctaw population and the Choctaw people in general,” said Bret Moss, media specialist for the Choctaw Nation. “A lot of their ways, their traditions may not be known by anyone outside of the nation. It's a great way to showcase what it is to be Choctaw.”

There are more than 200,000 members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, said a representative. About 40,000 members live in Oklahoma; others live in various bands or tribes in states such as California and Mississippi. About 1,000 members reside in Washington, D.C., and many will attend the event, Moss said.

What it is to be Choctaw

For Cavin, what it is to be Choctaw is emerging along with his art career.

As a young artist, it was a drawing of the Statue of Liberty in middle school that first won the Chickasha native attention.

Comic books held his interest during adolescence. The works of Walt Simonson got him hooked on collecting comic books, and art lessons soon followed. Today, one of Cavin's favorites of his own paintings is a black-and-white portrait of a mustached C.A. Burris. The painting, Cavin said, was done in the style of Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy.

“I really love it because he's one of my favorite comic book artists and has a really, really distinct style. In my mind I nailed his style with that painting,” Cavin said.

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by Heather Warlick
Life & Style Editor
Since graduating from University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Staff Writer Heather Warlick has written stories for The Oklahoman's Life section. Her beats have included science, health, home and garden, family,...
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