Randy Chitto - Clay Artist



Randall (Randy) Chitto is an acclaimed clay artist whose works are in numerous museum collections, including The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, The Denver Art Museum and The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, among many others. His work are also shown at the Santa Fe Indian Market (SWAIA), Heard Indian Market and other select exhibitions.

Randy is a past winner of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Fellowship and a Dubin Fellow at The School of American Research,. Randy has accumulated many other awards and distinctions in his career. His studio is The Red Clay Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Randy grew up in Chicago, Illinois, after moving there with his family in 1964. The Chitto family moved from the Choctaw reservation in Mississippi as part of the Indian Relocation Act of 1956. At an early age he showed talent, first by drawing in the dirt under the family porch in Mississippi. He later drew in the blank pages of any books he got his hands on. His family recognized his gift and was very supportive. While in high school, he was chosen in a citywide competition to be admitted in various specialized art classes at the Chicago Art Institute and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In 1980, Randy enrolled at The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe. His main interest at the time was painting, but it was there he found clay. Otellie Loloma was his first instructor in a medium he had previously not worked with. Randy impressed Mrs. Loloma with each work he produced in the class. He continued his study in clay with his friend and mentor Ralph Pardington who who taught the advance ceramic class. Mr. Pardington allowed Randy to work late into the night , and many times he worked through the night. Seeing his potential, Mr Pardington challenged him to create his own style and work.

He continued to enjoy working in two-dimension, and took painting classes with the renowned artist and instructor Linda Lomahaftewa at IAIA. In 1983 , he graduated with both a two- and three- Dimensional Degree in Studio Art. Randy has worked as a clay artist since has graduated from IAIA.


The turtle is Randy's primary subject, for turtles have always been considered the Choctaw's story keepers and storytellers. The turtle keeps narratives shielded and protected under its shell until it is ready to share them. The storytellers are coiled-built and then finished with hand-burnishing . All of Randy's characters are well known for their cheerful, animated expressions. The bears represent the male facet of the tribe with their strength and courage. Like the turtle storytellers, the bears are also hand-built, but wet-sanded to add a high sheen.


Randy is married to his bride of 31 years, Jackie Carpio, whom he met in Mrs. Loloma's clay class. Randy and Jackie have two boys, Hollis and Dillon. Randy also serves on the boards of directors of several non-profits organizations and lectures to students about careers in art. 

Artist Website