This summer, PNTS put out a call for an artist to design a logo for the Indigenous Mapping and Research Project (IMRP) to represent the project in online material, outreach, and promotional materials. Since this project seeks to create connections between Native lands and National Trails, Native or Indigenous youth were strongly encouraged to apply. The open call asked artists to submit a portfolio of past work as well as answer a few questions related to their relationship to trails and their vision for a logo. PNTS received many fantastic applications. A panel composed of IMRP project partners worked together to choose one artist to hire to design the logo.
Autry Lomahongva, who is Hopi and Navajo (Diné), was selected as the project artist. Autry worked with members of the IMRP project team to develop a design concept and complete the logo artwork.
Growing up with traditional teachings and a thirst for more traditional knowledge I seek to show how beautiful Native art can be. Take a mountain for example, an average person would see a mountain but for an Indigenous person such as me, I see a relative. I see a place that was once visited by the ancestors that would leave prayer feathers as offerings. Through the art that I create the viewer gets a small peek out of the eyes of what an Indigenous person would see.
For Autry, a major motivation for his artwork is “a need to uphold designs made by [his] Hopi and Navajo ancestors.” Autry’s artistic inclination emerged after being taught traditional arts of the Navajo and Hopi cultures. Through mentorship from his uncle who is an artist, Autry built skills in weaving and carving but really succeeded in fine Hopi pottery designs.
Creating designs goes beyond just drawing, it is a form of meditation. “I can let my pencil and pen flow and from my head to my hands the designs come into reality,” said Autry. This rhythmic meditation not only fuels creativity but serves as a major motivator for Autry’s work.
Although Autry was surprised to be selected as the IMRP artist, he wowed the project partners with his intricate designs and imaginative visions for the IMRP logo. In the logo design, Autry sought to incorporate stylistic elements of the National Trails System and Hopi pottery designs. Autry said, “I was brought up in the old teachings of my cultures and so I have an eye for old and traditional art pieces.” Through ongoing conversations with the IMRP team, Autry developed a beautiful and layered logo rich with meaning. “I see trails as pathways that can lead you to spectacular places. Maintained properly you can see the amazing landscapes the world has to offer,” said Autry. The integration of both Indigenous iconography and elements of the National Trails System logo works to form a visual that resonates with the purpose of the IMRP.
Autry’s artwork was designed by hand using pen and marker. PNTS staff digitized the artwork to create the final logo.
Click the link above to find out more about the Indigenous Mapping and Research Project which produced the Native Lands, National Trails Resources.