Cris Fulton grew up in Bowman, North Dakota, lived in Minneapolis and Taos, New Mexico, then moved back home in 1993. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in art from the University of North Dakota in 1973. After graduation from college, Cris spent a year as a VISTA volunteer at Pierre Indian School. She saw her first powwow at Eagle Butte, and was mesmerized by the swirling colors and the drumbeats and singing. The next year, she taught basic skills and art in Slope County, North Dakota. During her stay at the remote Bullion Butte School, the beauty of her native landscape made a lasting impression on her.
Starting with pencil drawings of cowboys and Indians, she went on to large colorful pastel drawings of powwow dancers, Aztec dancers, and mythological figures; some of which were published by Pomegranate. Fulton pursued that subject matter as far as she was interested, then moved back to Bowman to help care for her mother. She worked on a Native American exhibit and native plant gardens for the local museum, activities that got her out into the prairie country. She discovered rock art in the Cave Hills, learned the Indian names and uses for plants, heard the rumbling of buffalo herds, and saw the fossil remains of ancient dinosaurs and palm trees.
During this period of immersion in the history and culture of the prairie, Fulton was not creating any art. She took some time to learn about the spiritual practice of meditation, and to learn about the wisdom traditions of the world. One night, Cris had a dream in which she was drawing clouds in bold strokes over a prairie horizon. She was so enthused about the process that she ran to the art store for supplies without putting on her shoes. When she woke up, she realized that what she really wished to try was landscape drawing. From about 2004 to the present, the prairie territory has been her artistic inspiration. She enjoys taking photographs and working with pastel pencils and watercolor crayons.
Her work has been shown at galleries in Minneapolis, Taos, Santa Fe, Montana, and throughout North Dakota. She has had her photographs published by North Dakota Horizons calendar and magazine, including one of a crocus for the cover of the Spring 2011 issue. One of her landscape drawings was chosen for the “Arts Dakota” touring exhibit in 2008. Her “Equus” series of drawings was shown at the offices of Governor John Hoeven in 2009. Fulton and the late Sheila Rieman were featured artists at the Rider Gallery at Dickinson State University in 2010, and she also had a solo exhibit at the Dickinson State University Art Gallery that year.
Cris has been invited to show her art at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora and at the WaterWorks Art Museum in Miles City the last several years. One of her landscape drawings was chosen for an exhibit celebrating the 125th birthday of North Dakota in 2014 at the Heritage Center in Bismarck. Fulton’s work was also shown with the bison sculptures of Bowman artist Sarah Snavely at the Dickinson State University Art Gallery in 2014. The Bismarck BoxArt project committee recently chose her drawing “Golden Dakota” as one of the images for wrapping on traffic signal utility boxes in their city. Her photographs were chosen by Denver art consultant Hilary DePolo for installations at ConocoPhillips in Watford City and Dickinson, North Dakota in 2015.