Fritz Scholder, a controversial Native American artist forces his audience to look at traditional Native American portraiture in a new way. The oil painting Mad Indian No. 3 is a perfect example of the voice that Scholder gives to Native American artists. His color scheme and abstract style, with the use of contemporary American Indian issues in a traditional portrait setting compels the viewer to question their own beliefs and views of the historic Native American and the modern one, and their place in westernized America is today.
Frtiz Scholder born in 1937 from Minnesota is not your typical Native American artist. His grandmother was Lusieno tribe of Mission Indians, but Scholder himself was not raised as an Native American and does not consider himself to be Native American. Brought up in westernized society, Scholder has a unique view of American Indians in the western world. His interpretations are the dominant subject throughout his art work that has left lasting impressions in the Western and Native American art world. An established contemporary artist, Scholder has utilized several contemporary and surrealistic techniques to exhibit his observations of the modern American Indian.
In order to properly analyze Mad Indian No. 3 one must understand the history of the Native American and his long battle against the stereotypes that is a constant road block in everyday life as he struggles to co-exist in his world and the western one. The stereotype the western world places on the Native American has been long ingrained into our minds since the first encounter with Native Americans. While it has changed since the beginning or discovery of Native Americans it hasn't truly matured and progressed with the reality of the modern Native American. Most westernized cultures are comfortable with the romanticized idea of the stoic, courageous native, enlightened by his relationship with the natural world and the simplistic style of living that unites man with his surroundings.