Professor Mark Johnson Pays Tribute to Indigenous Artist Brian Tripp

Thursday, June 17, 2021

NORTH COAST JOURNAL (EUREKA) -- One of the few non-Indians at the event not related to a singer was Mark Johnson, a professor of Art at San Francisco State University. He taught at HSU in the 1980s and first met Brian in 1984. He remembered that Brian immediately invited him to his studio and Johnson invited Brian to dinner.

He said Brian began attending HSU as an art student in 1968, after Vietnam, and by 1975 was featured among other Native artists in a catalog released by Jerry Brown, then in his first term as California’s governor. Brian’s work made the cover.

Johnson reeled off a long list of major American museums where Brian’s art is displayed, calling Brian one of the “strongest California Native American artists.” He also lamented that art critics too often focus on white artists and overlook Native talent.