Brian D. Tripp (1945 – 2022) Art and Regalia

Brian Tripp News from Native California Cover

Brian Tripp

(American | Karuk, 1945 – 2022)

Native American artist Brian Tripp (Karuk) created conceptual artworks in a variety of media. He also was a traditional dancer and singer carrying on the ceremonies of the Karuk Tribe of Northern California. After serving in the Vietnam War, Tripp studied art at Humboldt State University in California, where he later taught art.

After a long and painful battle with illness, 77-year-old Brian D. Tripp, born in Eureka and raised in Klamath, died May 13, 2022. A nationally renowned artist whose work echoed traditional forms in painting and sculpture, Tripp was the 2018 recipient of the California Living Heritage from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. His mural “The Sun Set Twice on the People that Day” can be seen on the west side of the Clarke Historical Museum, where it was relocated in 2021.

Along with Tripp’s contributions to contemporary American art, he was also instrumental in the revival of traditional Karuk ceremonies and dances, such as the Brush Dance, as both an organizer and singer. Tripp championed Indigenous rights and sovereignty in both his writing and his work as an activist.

Jump Dance Basket, made by Brian Tripp (Karuk)

c. 2000, Sturgeon’s Backbone Design, Redwood painted yellow & black with wooden feathers.

Trinidad Museum Collection J188

Sash for the Jump Dance, Karuk

Designed by David Tripp c.1980, made by Jack Flores in 1980, Danced for 17 years in the Jump Dance.  Sewn into thick hide with a few glass beads on each stitch.  The red at the end was not traditional, nor the use of beads, but the red pattern is almost a Tripp family mark. The idea came from Flores, whom Tripp said was Cherokee.

Trinidad Museum Collection J144