Tony Da was the first Pueblo “rock star.” He broke cultural barriers as a “modern Indian,” steeped in San Ildefonso Pueblo tradition but living in a contemporary world. A grandson of Maria Martinez and the son of Popovi Da, his precision designs and techniques revolutionized Pueblo pottery and created a new vocabulary for the art. Among the first men to make and design pottery, he introduced sgraffito etching, inlaid stones, and beads, initiated black and sienna colorations, and invented his stylized iconography derived from the ancient Mimbres pottery. Although his career only spanned fifteen years, his work and persona are increasingly relevant.
In 2011, Tony Da’s pottery and paintings focused on an exhibit entitled; ‘Creative Spark, The Life, and Art of Tony Da.’ (Museum of Indian Arts and Culture of Santa Fe 2011-2013.)
Throughout his career, Tony Da demanded perfection. As a result, he was an innovator in his art, as well as in his life. Tony was known to his family members as a creative perfectionist and to his collectors as a creative genius. Today, Tony’s pottery is considered among the most sought-after by collectors. Charles King and Richard Spivey co-authored a history of his life, and artwork is a testament to his legacy, ‘The Life and Art of Tony Da.’ Tony was both an art superstar of his time and a profoundly private individual. This portrayal brings the reader into this noted Potter’s innovative and volatile world.