Portland Museum Art School, Portland, OR
Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Apprenticeship in Sculpting with Michael Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo NM
Apprenticeship in Printing with Frank Flinn, Santa Fe, NM
Roxanne Swentzell was destined to be a talented artist. Her family is full of renowned potters and sculptors. Her talent was recognized early and she was given the opportunity to spend two years at the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe before graduating from high school. She then went on to the Portland Museum Art School.
Her first piece of art was a clay dog at the age of four. After formal training and the development of her own style, Swentzell began to create full-length clay figures that represent the complete spectrum of the human spirit. She feels that many people are out of touch with their environment and hopes relating to her expressive characters will help them get back in touch with their surroundings and feelings. Her figures represent a full range of emotions and irrepressible moods. Swentzell focuses a lot on interpretative female portraits attempting to bring back the balance of power between the male and female, inherently recognized in her own culture. Additionally, she increasingly uses a powerful sense of humor to communicate.
Her work is in such high demand that people line up by the dozens at her booth at shows like Santa Fe Indian Market where she won Best of Sculpture in 1999 with a larger-than-life bronze. Though steeped in her own culture, Swentzell’s work demonstrates an astounding universality, speaking to people of all cultures.