Little Wound, Patrick Dean Hubbell
Mac Bishop, CEO of Native(X), is no stranger to Native art. Growing up in Oregon, Mac was exposed to Native culture and community at an early age. Bishop told Y&P, “my Grandpa collected Native artwork and I can remember admiring the intricate designs as a young boy. My family also runs a business [Pendleton] that has worked with tribes for over 100 years making trade blankets for ceremonies and rituals. My dad’s Umatilla tribe name is Tsitskaneewushuthla, meaning ‘One who rides with blankets.’”
Bishop went on to tell us, “Native artists and designers are underrepresented and under-acknowledged in today’s fashion and art industry,” and it was his desire to change the industry’s view and create awareness of Native arts. This led to the creation of Native(X).
Chip Off the Block, Jaque Fragua
Native(X) works with Native American artists to tell their stories and market their designs. Buying art and other items through Native(X) helps support not only the artists and the concept of the company, but also helps fund art classes for children on reservations.
Y&P chose to feature Mac Bishop in our Top 13 of 2013 list because of his entrepreneurial abilities that go beyond self-interest. Bishop has created a platform for talented artists to get recognition and fund aspiring artists to have access to the education needed to continue their success.
Enjoy our interview with Mac Bishop below, and be sure to visit Native(X).
[Y&P] What was the biggest challenge starting Native(X)?
[Mac Bishop] Earning the respect of the Native community was and still is challenging. Anywhere I go, I received with a bit of skepticism and rightly so, given the recent historical injustices. That doubt is overcome when I show what I’ve accomplished and explain my goals.
Lifestyle, Troy Whitehorne
When you first started out, you received some negative feedback about not being a Native and thus are “exploiting indigenous culture for financial gain.” How do you perceive this view? Do you think a person has to be “part of the group” to ignite a movement?
I listened and took time to understand the concerns. Social media acts like a system of checks and balances–if the Native community doesn’t like what I’m doing, they’ll let it be known. It’s amazing what the community has been able to do with recent Paul Frank, Urban Outfitters, and Victoria Secret controversies. Caleb Dunlap originally questioned my intentions three years ago. Since then we’ve developed a great friendship and I see him as an adviser.
What are your favorite styles of Native art?
I first started working with traditional NW coast artist who make “totem style” prints. Being from the NW, this was the first Native art style I was attracted to. I then went to the Santa Fe Indian Market and it opened my eyes to different regional styles. The diversity in color, medium, and inspiration is pretty incredible. I’m working with a lot of contemporary artists from the SW right now.
Red and Yellow, Patrick Dean Hubbell
What are you looking forward to this spring?
Planning a road trip to the Chickasaw Nation, Alaska, Santa Fe, and then back up to the Umatilla Reservation! I’m hoping to connect with artists and designers across the nation. Also, want to explore the country.
To those visiting Portland, OR…what is a must-see?
The Columbia River Gorge. Rent a car and drive! And then get out and hike.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Always order a burrito bowl with tortilla on the side at Chipotle if you are going for volume it is probably number one. Number two is surround yourself with people that give you happiness and make you a better person.