Born in Berkeley, California, Mark Swazo-Hinds moved to Santa Fe in 1968 and then to the Tesuque Pueblo in 1972. He studied art at Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas and graduated from the Institute of American Indian Art in 1981. In his formative years Mark was surrounded by the art of his father, acclaimed painter Patrick Swazo-Hinds. While still in his teens Mark began to develop his now widely acclaimed artistic path carving award winning stone fetishes. He began to exhibit his unique sculptures at Indian Market in Santa Fe in the early 1980s shortly after graduating from IAIA.
Mark’s work gives voice to his heritage, preserving historical customs, practices and rituals through traditional stone carving methods combined with the intricate ancient skills of creating powerful medicine bundles. Though he is influenced by traditional rituals and ceremonies, he specializes in creating contemporary sculptural works of art for a contemporary audience. Mark enjoys working with Indiana limestone, Italian marble, Utah alabaster among other stones and often uses natural red earth pigment for color and shells and ancient pottery shards bundled in exotic feathers for ornamentation. Upon completing a piece, he blesses it in the traditional Pueblo way before releasing on to its new destination, whether it be a show, a gallery, or a discerning collector.
His unique fetishes can be found in collections throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.