By Christian Franzen
T.C Cannon was born on September 27th, 1948 in Lawton, Oklahoma. He grew up on the Kiowa Reservation with his family. Cannon enrolled in the new Institute of Indian Arts of Santa Fe in 1964. Living in Santa Fe for school allowed Cannon to make many new friends, including Stephen Mopope and Lee Tsatoke. These three friends, along with a few others would, would go onto form the group known as the Kiowa Six. This group would later achieve international art world fame and help develop the future perceptions of Native Art. At the Institute he studied under legendary Native Artists Fritz Scholder. Rumor has it that Scholder stole the idea for his Super Indian series from classwork that Cannon had turned in while in his class.
After graduating the Institute of Indian Arts, Cannon went onto study at the San Francisco Art Institute. His studies there were short lived; for two weeks into his schooling at San Francisco he left to serve in the Vietnam War. He served in Vietnam from 1967 until 1968 and urned two Bronze Star Medals during the Tet Offensive.
While serving in Vietnam, Cannon was still able to make art on a small scale and he was included in some United States exhibits of that time curated by Rosemary Ellison. In 1972, Scholder and Cannon had a two man Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's National Collection of Fine Arts. The show was a large success. Cannon spent the next six years producing a large body of work for his first scheduled solo show that was to be held at the Arberbach Gallery in New York in October of 1978. On May 8th of 1978, Cannon was killed in a fatal automobile accident. His solo show was delayed a year and retitled as Cannon: A Memorial Exhibition. It included 50 images by Cannon and traveled all over the United States.