Lillian Pitt Gets Her Start as an Artist

Lillian Pitt attributes getting her start as an artist to the renowned Native American artist R.C. Gorman. She also credits her success over the years to the friends and creative spirits she met along the way.

One of the stories Lillian tells is about her good friend R. C. Gorman.  Gorman is the famous Navajo Indian artist known for his brightly colored paintings and sculptures of amply endowed Native American women from the southwest. The New York Times called him “the Picasso of American Indian art.”

I date my start as an artist to 1981, when I first met R. C. Gorman at an art show in Portland.

I wasn’t thinking of becoming an artist at the time, but I was taking an art class as a college elective when R. C. came to Portland. I went to see him on a whim, and I brought him some photos of masks that I had been working on as part of my class.

I was shocked when he said he wanted to buy two pieces! From that point on, I was hooked. I was now an artist. Other people, of course, helped me over the years, and I am grateful to everyone. But it was R.C. Gorman who actually gave me my initial start as an artist.

R.C. invited me to his home every year since then until he died in 2005. He was an amazing inspiration to me, and I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me the help and support I needed over all those years.

Now I try to return the favor, by teaching as many people as I can about the things that I know, and by helping them along their own paths in whatever ways I can.

—Lillian Pitt


Learn more about Lillian Pitt and her career being an Indian artist.
Learn about R.C. Gorman