JJ Otero (Navajo/Hopi) has always appreciated the art surrounding him. Now, he helps others appreciate what he has to offer through his music, painting, woodwork, and jewelry – a true renaissance man!
JJ worked in IT for 25 years before moving into the art world full-time. Outside of a short stint painting, with some success, in 2010, JJ focused diligently on his musical craft, a true passion.
JJ’s life was shaken up, and in 2016, he found himself moving back to the Navajo reservation, searching for a means to make a living. During this time of resetting, chores around the family home required JJ to be resourceful with materials such as wood, metal, and tools.
His father, Chester, worked on a rickety table, barely holding up his chainsaws and chain sharpening equipment. JJ set out to find old 2×4’s and some screws and cobbled together a work bench and seat that his dad still uses today. More than a year and various woodworking projects later, his sister Cleo asked if he could make a cradleboard for her coming grandchild. That first cradleboard was the beginning of JJ’s career in the arts. Social media posts of his cradleboards and cedar boxes prompted several artist friends to encourage JJ to enter a few of the more well-known Native art markets.
In 2018, JJ Otero was accepted into the prestigious Heard Museum Art Market in Phoenix, AZ and the SEEDS Art Market in Santa Fe, NM. He also found himself being considered for the Southwest American Indian Art Market in Santa Fe, NM.
JJ’s philosophy guides all things in his life: This moment is perfect and there’s nothing lacking. With this deep abiding fire, JJ continues to admire the texture and beauty of wood grain and continues to be amazed by the smell of freshly sawed wood. In addition, JJ’s unique stamping and texturing styles make his silver work stand out, a newer passion in his ever-growing career!