Artist Mick Escamea is on his way

His fine art and crafts were on display

PHOTO BY MIRIAM NELSON Mick Escamea was among the artists displaying their work at The Siga Funmaker Community Center on Friday. The center hosted eight Native American artists from Wisconsin to raise money for the Johnson O’Malley program, which provides school supplies and registration fees for Native American students ages 3 through high school.

An artist with 30 years of experience brought his collection to the Craft and Art Fair at the Siga Funmaker Community Center, Wittenberg, on Friday.

Mick Escamea lived among the Ho-Chunk in his younger years and credits them with helping fuel his interest in art. A member of the Oneida tribe, he returned last week to participate in a fundraiser for the Johnson O’Malley program, which helps enrolled students from 3 years old through high school with expenses such as school supplies and registration fees.

Escamea graduated from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting, sculpture and digital media.

Native American art draws heavily from the spiritual nature of their culture, he said.

“The mythical teachings of the clans is that we are all related to the animals,” explained Escamea as he pointed out the “Wolf Man” sculpture in his collection. “Is it a wolf becoming a man, or a man becoming a wolf?”

Another mixed media piece in his collection — made of metal, clay, horse hair, pheasant feathers, deer toes and shells — is titled “The Flying Head.”

It is based on a story of a mythical creature that would fly through the night, attach itself to cattle and drain the blood as a vampire would. The villagers didn’t know what was happening to the cattle. There was a puppy that saw the flying head and told the villagers what was happening. Once they were able to see the Flying Head, that took away its power.

“This is why we always have puppies in our camp,” Escamea said.

Unlike some artists who can’t part with their creations, all of Escamea’s artwork is for sale. He acknowledged how tough it is to be an artist, because it requires a lot of time alone perfecting your skills.

“My goal is to have a collection in a gallery. I’ve put in the work,” he said. “This year is a going to be a good year.”

Jamie Decorah, Johnson O’Malley chairperson, said Escamea was one of eight artists who participated in the event.

The fair went from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and the hope was to draw at least 100 people.

“I’m very happy that by noon we had already exceeded our expectations,” Decorah said.

This was the first fundraiser held for the program in this area, which covers the Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Bowler and DC Everest school districts.

No total was available at deadline time.