Rance Hood is one of the few Native American artists left who still paints in the manner which echoes the traditional Indian culture and spirituality of the past that has been drastically changed by the modern and white worlds. Hood grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma in the home of his maternal grandparents who taught him Comanche Indian ways and values. The son of a white father and a Comanche mother, he learned Comanche traditions from his maternal grandparents. His grandfather taught him the peyote religion and told him stories about great Comanche warriors of the past. When his grandfather passed away he handed down the medicine to Rance. He sleeps in a room full of it and prays every morning and every evening in the medicine ways. When he works around medicine he will get a vision or a title and he will see the scene and paint it.
A self-taught artist, Hood has introduced some abstract motifs into his backgrounds, but he adheres mainly to the traditional style of art practiced by his ancestors. Today, forty plus years beyond his original success as a major Indian artist in the 1960’s, Rance Hood is still considered one of the most successful Plains Indian artists. There is a storm center or animating force which charges Hood’s art with vitality. Hood’s storm center is his expression of his ancient tribal heritage, his visionary spiritual life, and a practicing mysticism. His themes are mystical, spiritual, developing his work through the customs and religious practices which were passed down to him. Coexisting with Hood’s control of the painting process is a mysticism that also distinguishes his work.
Rance Hood’s paintings have won numerous awards from the American Indian Exposition, Anadarko, OK; Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa; American Artists Lithograph Competition for Poster Art; and Santa Fe Indian Market. His paintings are owned by Museums across the country including the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, Oklahoma City; the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; The Heard Museum, Phoenix; Indy 500 Speedway, Joseph Coors Suite, Indianapolis; and the Thomas Gilgrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa. Additionally, Hood’s paintings are in the collections of Al Unser, Jr., Johnny Rodriquez, Michael Martin Murphy, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Conners, Joseph Coors and Reba McEntire.