CREATE Portage County launched a program called Paint the County. The program allows local artists to tell visual stories, which is exactly what Chris Sweet did with his impactful "A Song for the Seven Sisters" mural. Get the inside scoop on the artist himself with our Meet the Artist series.
It's In The Genes
Coming from a long line of artists, Chris Sweet has been an artist since childhood. Both of Sweet's parents were artists in addition to his maternal grandfather who was a painter - who Sweet oddly enough has an incredibly similar artistic style to in comparison to imagery and mediums. Residing in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, Chris's professional career kicked off in 2016 when he was offered his first opportunity to showcase his art in a solo exhibition done by Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF) for the Native Presence Gallery in the Wisconsin Dells.
Today you can find Sweet's art on display at his art studio and gallery in Reedsburg. The studio is called Blue Bear Studio where visitors can admire and appreciate beautiful works of art in addition to having purchasable options of original paintings, prints, note cards, and other unique items.
A Song for the Seven Sisters Mural
"Those that kept us true to course, those that held our strength, that led us to stand a people of this land". That quote can be found on the mural Chris Sweet completed during the summer of 2021 in Amherst, WI. The quote is part of a larger poem that inspired the artwork for the mural that was written by his cousin, Denise Sweet (Anishinaabe and WI Poet Laureate 2004-08). Sweet said that collaborating with his cousin was his favorite part about creating the concept for the mural.
As a true introvert, Chris expresses himself through his creative processes and completed pieces while honoring his Native American culture. Talking about himself or his works can be a challenge and it is much easier for him to communicate through his art.
Art and Legacy
While Chris isn't in the Stevens Point Area often, one of his favorite art pieces in the area is the metal art sculpture of a ricing canoe in the Cultural Commons by the river. The work was inspired by a late friend of his, Mike Hoffman, where his wife collaborated with other artists to bring it to life after Mike's passing.
When it comes to other murals in the area, Sweet believes they all add beauty to Portage County. But if he had to pick just one, it would be the Trailblazer mural done by Jessie Fritsch as it is such a powerful image. "RBG was such an amazing woman and her legacy will live on through her work," Sweet stated.
Chris also wanted to express his gratitude to Portage County and Elizabeth (mural property owner) for the opportunity to create The Song for the Seven Sisters mural. It meant a lot to be able to share his art and honor his Native American culture through the process.
Find additional works from Chris Sweet on his social media accounts and at Blue Bear Studio in Reedsburg.