Collaborative Painting by William Burroughs and David Bradshaw
Explosively shot and signed
by William Burroughs, David Bradshaw and
Chief George L. Wahquchbushkuk Sha-na-ska of the Prairie Band Pottawatomie
When Bradshaw and company were on their way here, they stopped at a rest stop/tourism center on the highway. That was where Michael Swindle saw the picture of Chief Wahquchbushkuk on the wall. He served with the Chief in Viet Nam and saved his life by knocking him senseless when the Chief was losing it in combat. They had a big reunion here, which was fascinating to listen to, to say the least. (Michael Seindle wrote the book “Mullet Heads”, by the way.)
That evening, after dinner, the Chief had brought some sweet grass for an Indian ceremony, which was rather touching. Afterword, William said to me (referring to the Chief): “Not too many people worth meeting these days.” He was clearly enthralled with the Chief and his wife. (His wife, it turns out, collects salt ‘n’ pepper shakers and I gave her a set of antique Chinese silver pagoda shakers which I bought in Hong Kong.)
George drew four main Indian symbols—-the cross, the wheel of life (red, white, black, yellow, in the exact exact rotational order depicted), the serpent (evil), and the thunderbird (good). I cut stencils and made the words. We then shot and signed them. I made five. William shot into a symbol or two, which at first offended George. George then asked me to paint stars from the American flag, for him to shoot, to balance the deal. We had a casual title, Signs.