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José de la Cruz Medina (1935- ) J.D. Medina


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José de la Cruz Medina J. D. Medina Southwest Indian Pottery Contemporary Zia Pueblo signature

Trinidad Medina (1890s-1965) is considered to have been one of the best potters at Zia Pueblo during the first half of the 20th century.  She is best known for having made beautiful very large storage jars with unique designs.  Two of her grandsons, Rafael Medina and J.D. Medina (José de la Cruz Medina) are famous artists both on paper and pottery.

Trinidad taught Rafael's wife, Sofia, the techniques of making pottery and Sofia continued to make pottery throughout her career.  She painted traditional Zia Pueblo designs and Rafael painted Indian School-style paintings on some of her pottery.  J. D. was well known for his pueblo-style paintings long before he began painting with acrylic on pottery like that of his brother.

J. D. attended the Santa Fe Indian School from 1949 to 1953, after the departure of Dorothy Dunn and during the tenure of Geronima Montoya.  From there he attended the Institute of American Indian Arts.  He served in the Marine Corps then returned to New Mexico and lived at the pueblo.  He continued his craft with acrylic paintings on pottery and easel paintings. 

Reference: Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf.

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