Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Gene Lehmann
The Chickasaw Nation 

Chickasaw duo to stay busy with '19 arts schedule


October 17, 2018

Ben Trosper's colored pencil drawing of a male Cardinal before he put the finishing touches on it.

TISHOMINGO, Okla. – Two Edmond artists are introducing unique works to Native American art shows and festivals while planning an exhaustive 2019 festival schedule.

Brothers Jim and Ben Trosper recently concluded an award-winning effort at the Southeastern Art Show and Market (SEASAM) here. The show is sponsored by their tribe – the Chickasaw Nation – and features nationally-renowned artists affiliated with southeastern woodland tribes.

Jim Trosper's mesmerizing photography won third place honors at SEASAM, featuring worldly elements to his more recognized other-worldly shutter snaps.

Trosper's keen interest in the beauty of the Milky Way and starry nights dominated his art a few years after he received a photography degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Currently, his photography is showing the beauty of earth and sky.

"I wanted to push myself to improve and experiment with new techniques," Trosper said. "I feel like I have a good grasp of photography but there are always new things to learn.

"I love being able to bring a high level of professional work in many different scenarios, so I will continue to push myself, both creatively and with advanced photography technology," he added.

New Worlds

There are new objects at which to point a camera, too, and Trosper's award at SEASAM perfectly illustrates how he is honing his eye.

While on a trip to Durango, Colorado, Trosper was intrigued with a portion of snowcapped peaks in the Rocky Mountains. He saw the Milky Way ascending the night sky, looking as if it was attempting to envelop the peaks.

He snapped the photo.

"I captured this amazing scene. I am super happy with it," Trosper said with a big, friendly smile. "With the Milky Way stretched across the range, it almost looks like it was meant to be there at that exact moment in time."

Mountains are old, but they are new to Trosper.

Early in his career, a photo called "The Road" was his favorite. The 30-second timed-exposure captures a clear starry sky on a lonesome stretch of state Highway 81 near Hennessey, Oklahoma. The lights are aglow in Enid and can be seen vividly. Even wisps of the Milky Way are visible.

That was then.

Trosper's work has transcended "The Road." Now, his photographs feature grand vistas; a buffalo grazing against a magnificent night sky in the Wichita Mountains and snow-covered rocks in the numbing cold, crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe.

"That photograph sold," Trosper said, pointing out its absence from his SEASAM display.

"The time of day I took that photo was wonderful; beautiful blues in the water, beautiful yellows in the sunset and the rocks topped with snow. It all came together for just a perfect shot."


Lately, and to their delight, Jim has been sharing festival booth space with his brother Ben, a painter.

Ben Trosper thinks large and paints big, too. His originals are mostly oversized and – for those who love animals – Trosper's efforts can fill the bill to accent a large room or office.

Buffalo, tigers, birds, elk, and other critters graced the walls surrounding half the booth space he shared with his brother at SEASAM.

Many are in black and white, but one effort surprised Ben's wife, Anna.

It isn't a painting. It is a beautiful male Cardinal completed entirely with colored pencils.

"I didn't know he used colored pencils," Anna said with a laugh. "When we were first together (it's been six years now), Ben's art was pretty much black and white. But it is evolving. When he finishes a piece using a medium I didn't even know he used, it opens new opportunities to reach art lovers."

Jim Trosper holds his Southeastern Arts Show and Market (SEASAM) award-winning photograph of the Milky Way stretched across the peaks of the Rocky Mountains near Durango, Colorado.

The Chickasaw brothers shared booth space at Red Earth, one of the nation's premier Native American art shows hosted annually in June at Oklahoma City's Cox Convention Center. They also were featured at Exhibit C, a Chickasaw Nation-owned art gallery in Oklahoma City's famed Bricktown. Both were juried into the Artesian Arts Festival, a late May art show sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation for southeastern tribal artists.

"We were active this year, but we intend to expand that in 2019. We're looking at entering many American Indian art shows and other festivals next year, including the Cherokee Art Market," Jim Trosper said.

As Ben autographed a print of his buffalo painting for a patron, Jim said contacting them is easy and the businesses they have built are ready to fill the needs of customers. To reach them, phone (405) 200-6454, or email You may also visit for more photos and contact information.


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