COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The first thing you notice when you look at Danielle Seewalker’s murals are the eye-catching, bold colors. Bright red, orange, blue, purple.
“I love color. I use almost every shade of color in a lot of my murals,” Seewalker laughs.
Look closer and you start to notice her colorful figures are missing a few details.
“I get a lot of questions about, ‘Why don’t the faces have any details on them? Why are there no eyes, are you going to paint eyes?’”
In fact, Seewalker leaves the faces she paints blank on purpose. Her distinctive style borrows directly from Indigenous history.
“The style that I tend to use in a lot of my murals stems from what plains Natives used to call ledger art,” says Seewalker.
Ledger art was a Native art form traditionally done on animal hides or cloth. It flourished from the 1860s to the 1920s. The term comes from the accounting ledger books that were a common source of paper for Plains Natives during the late 19th century. The style is known for being more simplistic and lacking fine details.
“In ledger style there were no details like that because it wasn’t focused so much on the skill of the artist, it was more focused on what was happening and documenting a story,” says Seewalker.