Jonathan McKinney is a product of two worlds. His mother is a member of Acoma Pueblo and his father, who is white, comes from a Celtic background. Both parents offered him a strong cultural lineage and today Jonathan combines both legacies in his art.
Born in Gallup, Jonathan’s father ran a large production shop, which hired and trained Native American artists. Jonathan began making jewelry himself at the age of nine. His first piece was a simple silver ring with a cabochon on top. All through middle school and high school, he entered pieces in the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial, where they won him several awards.
“Everyone’s always trying to figure out your method and material and if it’s a valid thing for you to be doing,” he says. “I come from a different perspective, having that background in manufacturing.” For him, the design is first. The design drives how he creates a piece and what materials he uses for it. He says, “I think about inspirations that speak to me and try to create something in my mind that’s captivating to me. Then I use the tools I have to create it.”