Artist Profile & Biography

Teddy Draper, Jr. was born on October 3, 1949, and is the son of a former United States Marine Corps Navajo Code-talker who had served in the South Pacific during World War II. He is a member of the Navajo Nation and calls Canyon De Chelly (Tséyiʼ, meaning "canyon" or "inside the rock") and Canyon Del Muerto "home". His maternal clan is Naashgali Dine'e, paternal clan is Ashiihi, maternal grandfather's clan is todicheeni, and paternal grandfather's clan is tohahelini.

Teddy works mainly in pastels, a medium for which he is very well known. He employs an individual technique that has been constantly refined and improved upon for the past thirty-five years, incorporating under painting pastel in order to achieve the highest brilliance, dimension, and resonance of color in this medium. He attributes his present style to a feeling for "unseen colors."

In recent years Draper has conducted artists workshops and seminars instructing artists in his technique.

The opportunity for an artist is nothing short of a ‘revelation’ and is graciously offered by renowned painter and teacher, Teddy Draper, Jr. in his ‘Exquisite Excursions’ artists workshops.

Navajo national Monument

“The opportunity for an artist is nothing short of a revelation”and is graciously offered by renowned painter and teacher, Teddy Draper, Jr. in his "Exquisite Excursions" artists workshops.

Navajo national Monument


Draper states that the most welcome surprises in his career came in 1986 at the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial arts competition where he took 'best in category rosette' as well as a blue ribbon in the oil painting division, and again in 1988 when he received a blue ribbon for the best miniature oil painting at the Santa Fe Indian Market. These are just a few in the long list of first place ribbons he has received, a list that includes best miniature at the Navajo NationFair in 1986, 1987, and 1988; best watercolors at the Navajo Nation Fair in 1986 and 1987 and also at the Gallup Area Arts Council Fair in 1984. Draper's pastels won blue ribbons at the Gallup Area Arts Council Fair in 1984 and 1985, the Navajo Nation Fair in 1986 and 1987, and the New Mexico State Fair in 1988.

2019 Santa Fe Indian Market

Renowned Navajo Artist, Teddy Draper, Jr. exhibited his work at the Santa Fe, NM Indian Market, August 18-19, 2018. He is planning to be there in 2019 with new pastel paintings and his one-of-a-kind Navajo traditional and contemporary Navajo Jewelry creations.


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Education & Appointments

Draper studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois, and at the Navajo Community College in Many Farms, Arizona, where one of his instructors was Clifford Beck, the noted Navajo pastel artist.

Ted Draper, Jr. has served on the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Board, The Fine Arts Showcase and Indian Market during the Navajo Nation Fair, and is presently serving on the advisory board of the Pueblo Grande's Museum annual Indian Market as well as the Board of Directors with the Navajo Arts and Humanities Council.

Draper currently resides in Chinle, Arizona with his wife Ophelia. Chinle is located in Northeastern Arizona at the mouth of Canyon De Chelly, a National Monument which Teddy lives, breathes, and paints. In this community on the Navajo reservation Draper devotes his free time and efforts to the Chinle Youth Athletic Club; a volunteer drug and alcohol awareness group which helps to provide organized and supervised athletic competitions as an alternative to substance abuse. As a basketball coach he spends his time during the winter months traveling the Southwest with his teams for games and tournament competitions.

Draper and his wife Ophelia Garcia are internationally known for their turquoise, silver, and gold jewelry. He frequently travels the United States exhibiting his work, and has achieved international acclaim touring Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. He has been a consultant and appeared on "Treasures of the Southwest" hosted by Bob Eubanks, and was featured on the Learning Channel's segment "Understanding Beauty".

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