Our team’s quest to capture Crazy Horse’s visage was a bear.
There are no known photographs of Crazy Horse. Yes, there are several photographs floating around that some claim are of the great Sioux chief (see this month’s Classic True West article), but they so far have been unproven. Fortunately, there are several eyewitness descriptions of Crazy Horse, and we have author and historian Mark Lee Gardner (see his excellent cover story on page 18) to thank for sharing them with us. Going against the expected, the real Crazy Horse had curly hair, a narrow face and a non-aquiline nose. He favored a lone feather, and he had a bad scar above his lip on the left side of his face because of a bullet wound from a jealous husband. With that specific information, my artist amigo, Buckeye Blake, sent me a photograph he found of an Oglala Sioux brave that approximates the look about as close to the verbal descriptions as we can expect to get. So I painted four versions of Buckeye’s photo, adding the upper lip scar and tweaking each face a tad to see if I could capture the magic of the man. I’ll leave it to you decide if we have succeeded.
-Bob Boze Bell