JD Challenger is considered America's leading painter of Native
Americans. He was born in Oklahoma with a creative fire that first
began to smolder at a young age. He learned color, shading, light
and shadow from closely observing nature and drawing what he saw.
Always fascinated by the culture and customs of the Native Americans
near to whom he lived and soon considered his closest friends, the
young Challenger absorbed their stories and traditions.
He sketched his observations of their lives. At first, he was reluctant
to show his paintings in public for fear of offending a people he
greatly admired. Upon witnessing a Ghost Dance ceremony, Challenger
discovered his mission and what he wanted to paint. With encouragement
from friends, he showed his work to some Native Americans, one of
whom was a holy man. Challenger was told, "Your path is to
tell our story and educate others."