Drawing from a broad constellation of inspirations—from family and dreams to art history and Anishinaabe culture—Frank Big Bear (Ojibwe) is best known for his vibrant Prismacolor pencil drawings. Melding personal and political themes on disjointed, fantastical backdrops, he frequently addresses notions of identity as well as issues that pervade broader Native experiences.
Big Bear’s solo exhibitions include Nativia, Bockley Gallery (2016), Homage, Bockley Gallery (2014), From the Rez, to the Hood, to the Lake, All My Relations Gallery, Minneapolis (2011), among many others. His commissions include The Walker Collage, Multiverse #10 (2016–2017) for the Walker Art Center and, with Star WallowingBull, Detritus of the Light People for the Plains Art Museum in Fargo (2004). Big Bear has recieved the USA Knight Fellowship from United States Artists (2015), a National Artist Fellowship through the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (2015), and the Bush Foundation’s Enduring Vision Award (2008). His work is in the collections of the British Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Des Moines Art Center, among others.
Raised in and around the White Earth Reservation, Big Bear has primarily resided in Minneapolis, where he presently lives and works, since the age of 14.