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The City Journals

Artist of the Month: Indian art in varying styles by Rad Cuch

Nov 29, 2018 12:25PM ● By Lindsey Baxter

“Back by Tradition.” (Lindsey Baxter/City Journals)

By Lindsey Baxter | [email protected]

Radcliff Cuch grew up in Fort Duchesne in a large family of eight. He learned most of his art abilities by himself and started at an early age. His love of art started when he gained interest in reading science-fiction comic books. Cuch loved that they had really intricate drawings. He likes the detailed drawings that give his mind something to really think about. 

The Holladay Arts Council recently named Cuch its Artist of the Month. 

Cuch finished high school with a love of art and took a few art classes in college. However, he had a friend tell him not to take classes because it would ruin his technique. He has learned all of the different art forms just by sitting down and creating. Cuch finds art a hobby and could not imagine doing it for a full-time job, as what he does is so intricate and time consuming. He has worked for the Urban Indian Center for the last 15 years and plans to continue that as his career and art as a hobby.

“I usually get my inspiration from nature and the things that just come into my mind and things that are way different,” Cuch says. Cuch uses pencil, pen and ink, colored pencils, acrylic paints and beadwork to create his artwork.

Cuch’s favorite piece of work is titled “Back by Tradition,” which is the back of four women’s heads wearing traditional regalia, which took him a month to make. He says it takes a long time because it’s hard on his arm, neck, hands and eyes; he uses size 13 beads and it’s very detailed and intricate work. The costume or regalia that Native Americans wear represents their tribe or family. You can tell what tribe a person is from based on their regalia. So when Cuch designs his art, he has to be careful that he is not creating a family’s tribal regalia, and creates all new designs instead.

“I just draw whatever comes to mind and then I say this needs beadwork and more design. After I’m finished, I still may not know the name of it, but I keep looking at it. I don’t go by a theme; I just kind of build what comes to my mind and then name it afterwards. I try to keep things that are simple and not too gaudy. Once I see what I like and it’s balanced then I know it’s finished,” Cuch says.

Cuch loves knowing that he can do something that others can’t and that motivates him to continue to create new art. He is starting to create more 3D art. He is going through different design techniques and how he can do that with Indian designs and nature in one technique but with 3-D.

Cuch earned an honorary mention from Lawrence Kansas Junior College at an art show. He has participated in a variety of art shows like Art Access and a show in L.A. He has also done events at the Cultural Shows here in Utah. He explained that different areas like specific art and so he only shows at certain places.

Cuch can only work for about an hour at a time because it is very tedious work and he has to be in the right mood to be able to create the art. 

Cuch is a happy man with a true desire to create new and different forms of art. He loves spending time outside swimming and running. He is extremely humbled to have earned Holladay’s Artist of the Month. Although Cuch doesn’t have a website, he will be at the Arts Market at the Urban Indian Center on Dec. 1–2 with his artwork available to purchase.

To nominate an artist of the month, email [email protected]