published Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Curtain Call: Former Dayton artist painting, making films out West

  • photo
    Ed Breeding is shown in his home studio in Las Cruces, N.M. The former Dayton, Tenn., resident is a painter and filmmaker.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Hometown: Speedwell, Tenn.

Education: University of Eastern Michigan.

Vocation: Painter, filmmaker.

Growing up in Speedwell, Tenn., north of Knoxville, Ed Breeding said, he always felt an affinity for Americans Indians.

Breeding said he is part Cherokee, and his family always lived "primitively."

After a career as a supervisor with La-Z-Boy Chair Co. that took him to Michigan and then a 22-year-stint in Dayton, Tenn., Breeding moved in 2004 to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to be closer to the land and people he features in his paintings and documentary films.

One of his most recent films, "Genius Sky," earned an award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival. It is about Michael Gutierrez, an artist who photographs images he sees in the cloud formations in the area.

"We have phenomenal skies," Breeding said. "I followed him around and would get these images that he saw, and then he would turn to the camera and explain what he sees. He photographs the images, and his photos can be seven to 10 feet wide. They are remarkable."

He also made "Reign of the Jaguar" about the Maya, which he filmed in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and "Echoes From the Ancestors," a 30-minute film that was shown on a New Mexico PBS station.

It incorporates 24 quotes by American Indians, which are read over Breeding's cinematography, including some of his own oil paintings. He also used footage he shot while hiking in New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado. It was hiking that first took him out West.

"I'm a backpacker, and every summer I came out here and spent a lot of time in the Rockies," he said. "A lot of my work is Western. My paintings, I mean. I do a lot of landscapes and Native Americans. I'm friends with different tribal groups."

One of his regular subjects is the grandnephew of Geronimo, and he is working on a film with him now that he hopes will present the Apache chief in a new light.

"I've painted him three times," Breeding said. "He feels his uncle has been taken out of context, and we are working on a film with the [New Mexico State] university."

Breeding said his film work is a one-man operation, and he prefers to let the subject matter tell the story.

"I do the filming myself," he said. "I take an ordinary person that is living an extraordinary life. I've learned if you have a compelling story, the audience will forgive a lack of technical aspects to a film."

Breeding also has written 12 manuscripts, two screenplays and had one of his paintings, "The Four Seasons of the Amish," reproduced on a gourmet candy tin that sold 400,000 units.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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