Carlis M. Chee was born into the Navajo Nation in Arizona and his art depicts the beauty of his people and culture. His works are a merging of balance and tranquility and they reflect traditional Navajo images, together with the elegance and simplicity of the Japanese art form. Some pieces focus on a stylized female figure, adorned with a colorful blanket and turquoise earring, representing the Navajo People. The facial features are tightly painted and finely chiseled by intricate brush strokes bringing an elegant, yet seductive, quality to the finished painting.
Chee is a a self-taught painter, but did receive formal instruction at Kearney State College in Nebraska. He also worked as an artist in residence at the Maxwell Public Schools. While attending Kearney State College, he became intrigued by Japanese art and started incorporating his passion into his work. Chee also studied at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he owns and operates his own art gallery.
Chee’s current body of work is a progression from a traditional tight geometric obsession into more loosely painted landscapes, still life and some nude images, allowing him to be more spontaneous in his work. Chee says: When I work, there is a romance between my art and myself. My work is dedicated to my grandmother, Anna Jean, who taught me my native language and raised me in the atmosphere of a traditional home.”