Johnnie Lee Diacon
Johnnie Lee Diacon is an enrolled member of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, the Raprakko Etvlwa (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town), and he is Ecovlke (Deer Clan). Johnnie was born in Okemah, OK to Margaret Harjochee (Creek) and Cecil Iron (Osage) on Jan. 8, 1963 and he now resides in Tulsa, OK. He is married to Nikki Stephens Diacon and is the father of five children: Mika, Chrissa (deceased), Melissa, Annabelle (deceased), and Emerson. He also has two grandchildren, Mai-Lin and Makoto.
After the death of his mother, he was adopted by Delmer "Bud" Diacon (Cherokee) and Helen Amos Diacon in 1967. Delmer was a sign painter and graphic artist by trade, and it is through the work of his new father that Johnnie was introduced to art at a young age. The Diacons moved from Miami, OK to Springdale, AR and it was here that it was discovered that Johnnie's eyesight was poor. The optometrist that he was sent to was an avid collector of Traditional Flatstyle paintings, and it was Johnnie's first exposure to this style of art.
Johnnie received his post high school education in art at Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, where he studied the Traditional Style of Indian painting under master artist Ruthe Blalock Jones (Delaware/Shawnee/Peoria). Most of his traditional works are spiritual and ceremonial depictions which are done in the Bacone school, or Flatstyle of Indian Art. At Bacone, Johnnie also studied silversmithing and bronze casting.
After graduating from Bacone, Johnnie studied art at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK in their Bachelor of Fine Arts program for a semester, before being accepted & transferring to the BFA program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. From there, he transferred to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico to study the Contemporary style of Indian Art. These works often depict his involvement with the American Indian Movement, Idle No More and No DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) movement and can often be political in nature.
Johnnie took a 14 year break from art after the death of two of his children, Annabelle, in 2000 and Chrissa in 2008, and has recently returned to painting after receiving what he believes to be a sacred message from the Creator.
His work is in the permanent collections of Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, the Creek Council House Museum in Okmulgee, OK, the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Indian Art in Santa Fe, NM, The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK and the Dr. J.W. Wiggins Native American Art Collection at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Sequoyah National Research Center in Little Rock, AR.