I’m Kelly Holmes. I’m a Mnikoju Lakota from the Cheyenne River reservation in South Dakota. I currently live in Denver, Colorado, and I’m the founder and president of Native Max and the editor-in-chief and publisher of Native Max Magazine.
Okay, my first question. What is your favorite creative place and Colorado and why? My favorite place in Colorado, of course, is Denver, Colorado. Denver, Colorado, I feel like is a central hub. There’s just a mixture of cultures here, there are so many people, so many creative people. There are also a number of creative Native American artists here as well. And I also wanted to definitely recognize that Colorado is home of the original inhabitants, indigenous to this land. Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute, Arapaho, Comanche, Shoshone, Apache, and the Ocheti Sakowin.
Number three, what is the Work Project you have done that you are most proud of and why? My work with Native Max magazine is definitely my proudest work. I’m able to share the stories of indigenous people, including here in Denver, as well as throughout Colorado, with the rest of the world I’m able to promote their talents. I get to help share their stories with the world as well as their art.
Number 10, what career advice would you give to your younger self? I would definitely love to tell my younger self to pursue whatever passions that I have, any interests, anything that I’m curious to learn and to pursue a lot of times, I was interested in different programs and different things but I always sort of psyched myself out, scared myself out of it, thinking that I’m not good enough, I won’t be able to learn or succeed and, you know, whatever it is that I wanted to do. And I would love to go back in time and tell myself to just go ahead and, you know, learn whatever it is that you want to do. And, you know, who cares if you don’t do it right, or it doesn’t look right. You know, as long as you try, I would definitely go back and tell my younger self that.
Number two, which new project or skills that you start or learn during 2020? When I was younger I would always love to draw by hand I was always drawing or painting or also loved painting with watercolor, and I haven’t done that in so long. And being in quarantine in earlier 2020 I found myself a little bit bored, especially with work, kind of dying down. So what I did was one day on my iPad I downloaded Adobe draw and Adobe fresco, and I’m already a big fan of Adobe and their suite of programs. So I started drawing with the Adobe draw app and the Adobe fresco app, and I was just so excited and I just fell in love with it. It’s like, you know, I can draw again, I can paint again like when I used to a long time ago when I was younger. It definitely brought back memories and from there just so much inspiration just came flowing out of me I wanted to just draw everything and I actually drew a prairie rose. Prairie Rose is a flower native to much of the Midwest from up north to down south. I have always been a big fan of prairie roses they’re very resilient flowers, they can grow on their own, thrive on their own, and I definitely felt like, you know, as native people we are, like, prairie roses, we were vibrant. We are also survivors that we can pretty much grow in the harshest conditions in the harshest landscapes, but we continue to grow and we continue to offer beauty to this world, and I drew a prairie rose and it was a really good design, I felt like it was amazing so I ended up transferring these onto actual designs t-shirts, different apparel different merch and we have them for sale on our online shop at nativemax.shop. So that is drawn by me, the design, the prairie rose. I definitely have fun drawing it and I definitely love to remind people of the story of the prairie rose and how we are like that today.
Number eight, what do you like about the Denver creative community, and do you have any suggestions for how the community can be more inclusive? I love that the Denver creative community is very diverse and multifaceted. There are a lot of creatives who work in different mediums in different areas of the city, no matter where you go in the city you always see artwork you always see creations. I feel like the Denver, creative community can be more inclusive, I definitely love to promote working with indigenous artists, native American artists who come from this land, who are original inhabitants of this land to include more of the native American creative and artistic community a little bit more with the Denver creative community. Creating more opportunities, resources, platforms for artists to express themselves and to be able to showcase their culture in a positive light.