Michelle Tsosie Sisneros

  • Contemporary painter, jewelry artist and potter
  • Santa Clara/Navajo/Laguna Pueblo
  • Inspired by Pueblo traditions and Mother Earth
  • Subjects include Pueblo women, Yeis, clowns, deer and landscapes
  • SWAIA Helen Hardin Memorial Award
  • Pueblo Grande Museum, Poster Artist Award, 2000
  • Best in Painting, Museum of Northern Arizona

Michelle Tsosie Sisneros is a highly regarded contemporary artist of Santa Clara, Navajo and Laguna descent. She is primarily a painter but she also creates innovative handcrafted jewelry and pottery. Her painting style is abstract with some surrealist influences, yet her subjects are drawn from traditional Native American themes and include Pueblo women, Yeis, clowns, deer and landscapes. Sisneros’ painting process is extremely slow and deliberate. She begins with a sponge and acrylics, giving her work its signature mottled background, then carefully sketches and paints each figure with great detail. Finally, she embellishes each painting with additional elements, such as handprints, spirals, planets and a speckled finish that she creates with a toothbrush. In her life Sisneros has overcome great adversity, including alcoholism and an abusive husband, and she says of her work, “I paint now from my soul. The images I paint are from the people who touch my life in a profound way and the Mother Earth I live on.” Sisneros is also the illustrator of a children’s book, Kokopelli’s Gift, and has a line of greeting cards, bookmarks, magnets and Christmas ornaments, many of which are hand painted. She grew up in Window Rock, Arizona in the Navajo Nation but now lives in Santa Clara Pueblo.