Jesse W. Henderson (Crazy Boy) is an enrolled member of the Montana’s Rocky Boy’s Chippewa – Cree Tribe. He is a self-taught artist and has been drawing and painting since he was about ten years old. He was raised on a cattle ranch deep within the Bear Paw Mountains.
Although he grew up on a ranch, he was raised within the context of his traditional Chippewa-Cree culture. Jesse gains his artistic inspiration from his personal life experiences. His life experience has not only given him a perspective on a cowboy’s lifestyle, but he is also able to draw from his traditional way of life and his cultural values. In fact, every piece of artwork that Jesse creates tells a story and is based on culturally appropriate facts, traditional authenticity, and historical events.
In the spring of 1999, Jesse won First Place in the Oil Painting Category for the Western Heritage Art Show. He received the “People’s Choice Award” at the 1998 Great Falls Indian Art Show held in conjunction with the Charlie Russell Art Show activities. He also placed first in the Great Falls Indian Art Show’s “Circle of The Buffalo Honor” Competition in 1998. In May, 2000 Jesse made his first appearance at the Indian Art Northwest Show in Portland, OR and in competing with top ranking Indian artists from across the U.S., he received a third place award for his original oil painting, “Iron Horse.” In the summer of 2000, Jesse also gained unprecedented recognition at the Lawrence Indian Art Show in Lawrence, KS by winning three honorable mention awards. Then, in July of 2000, he received second place overall in the oil painting category at the Julyamish Pow-wow Art Show, in Postfalls, ID. Based on the quality and visual inspiration portrayed in his paintings, Jesse has been likened to be the next Charlie Russell in both flavor and style.
In his first year of being accepted and participating in the 2002 Southwest Association For Indian Arts (SWAIA) Santa Fe Indian Art Market, the largest Indian art competition and art show in the U.S., Jesse “sold out.” This is considered by many to be a major accomplishment as it is what a majority of the Santa Fe Indian Art Market participants can only aspire to achieve in their professional Indian art careers.
In 2001 Jesse was selected as one of only five Indian Artists from across the U.S. to participate in the First People’s Fund “Emerging Indian Artists’ Fellowship Program.” As part of this fellowship, Jesse is mentored by Ben Harjo, Jr. (Seminole/Shawnee), a world renowned professional Indian Artist. Furthermore, as a part of his training, Jesse is also receiving quality technical assistance and support from the First People’s Fund in establishing a successful business through his art. Jesse considered this fellowship a great privilege and is thankful to the Creator and those involved with the First People’s Fund for bestowing such a prestigious honor.
Jesse has been featured in the Great Falls Tribune, the Arts & Entertainment Section of the Missoulian, The Indian Artists’ Magazine and Indian Country Today. He has originals hanging in the Tribe Gallery in Norman, OK and will display his work in the Southwest Designs Gallery in New Orleans, LA. Jesse has also been invited to submit his limited edition prints to display for sale in the renowned Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK.