EBCI ARTIST PROFILE: Jody Bradley Lipscomb

by Dec 4, 2023A&E, COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments


One Feather Asst. Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – For Jody Bradley Lipscomb, her art is a way to connect with and educate others about her heritage.  A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), she has shown her paintings in numerous exhibits and shows and currently has several pieces in the “This Land Calls Us Home” at the Atlanta Airport.

“I had a vision book,” she said.  “I cut out pictures and taped them in a book thinking, one of these days I’m going to paint that.  I collected art I liked and always thought, that’s cool, and I can do that in Cherokee.  I like to create a subtle shift in the way we see things, especially for those who are not Cherokee.”

Jody Bradley Lipscomb poses with her book entitled “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Family Activity Book”. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

Jody paints with acrylics but also enjoys pen and ink and mixed media.  “I am self-taught and culturally-inspired.  I’d like to think I’m a quiet activist and a secret educator.”

Other exhibits she has been a part of include: “And Still We Dance”, a one-woman show at Lake Junaluska; “Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art”, a show featuring numerous EBCI tribal members at the Asheville Art Museum; “And Still We Dance” at the Carson-Newman Heritage Museum; and she had an Artist Spotlight by the Jackson County Art Council.

For “This Land Calls Us Home”, Jody has three pieces in the exhibit including “Under Construction”, “It’s Who We Are”, and “The Crying Tree”.

Of the pieces, she noted, “’Under Construction’ depicts a Cherokee basket maker constructing a white oak basket.  Of course, the red bandana is my favorite.  I love creating the texture in the basket.  ‘It’s Who We Are’ is a Cherokee woman with the Syllabary on her body.  I heard Jerry Wolfe (late EBCI Beloved Man) say, ‘our language is who we are’.  I listened and painted.”

Her work is also featured in several galleries including: Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc.; Museum of the Cherokee People; Queen House Gallery; and the Haywood County Arts Gallery.

Jody’s creativity isn’t limited to painting.  In 2019, she wrote the “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Family Activity Book” that is full of fun activities and valuable, correct information about the Tribe and is geared towards visitors to the Qualla Boundary.

As a youth, her first job was at the “Unto These Hills” outdoor drama.  “We always got those crazy questions, ‘where’s the reservation?’ and ‘where do all the Indians live?’.  So, I tried to address some of that in this book.  And, I wanted it to be something that families could do together when they come, not just for kids.”

“My focus is Cherokee women,” said Jody.  “I love painting Southeastern petroglyphs.  The first artists fascinate me.  I try to visit every petroglyph I paint if possible.  The Cherokee Syllabary is always a priority.  I may not speak Cherokee, but I share it in my art.  I have several wonderful resource people who advise me.”

“It’s Who We Are” is one of Jody’s pieces included in the “This Land Calls Us Home” exhibit currently being held at the Atlanta Airport. (Photo courtesy of Lipscomb)

Jody has several inspirations.  “Shan Goshorn told me in my early years, ‘keep painting, you’ll find your voide’.  I will never forget that.”

She added, “Lambert Wilson was always encouraging, supportive, and a wonderful mentor.  He inspired me to be a better artist.  Josh Adams (Jody’s son) holds me to a higher standard!”

While creating her art, she listens to a variety of things ranging from Native American flute music by Matt Tooni or Carlos Nakai and gospel music sung in the Cherokee language by the Welch Family from the Snowbird Community to Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ and The Message contemporary Christian radio.

“I think the educator in me starts every painting with ‘what can I teach about my people?’”

When asked how she’d like her art to be viewed by future generations, Jody noted, “I would like my Cherokee people to say, ‘I have one of her paintings’ and others to say ‘I did not know I did not know that’ or ‘I have learned something’.”

Some of Jody’s work is featured at the Authentically Cherokee site: https://www.authenticallycherokee.com/artists/jody-bradley/

She can also be reached at: JodyBradleyArt@gmail.com