I've been asked what Nuukunui means. Nuukunui was made from Ukunui, the name of the Yokut-Yaudanchi encampment on the middle fork of the Tule River in California, as recorded in A. L. Kroeber's 1925 Handbook of the California Indians. Ukunui means 'to drink'.
When I traded a painting for a computer, I added Nu to Ukunui in a fit of romantic personalization and used the term for my email address.
It was not the first time I stole fire from the original human inhabitants of the region.
In the fall of 2000, inspired by friends with whom I was involved in local environmental and cultural endeavors, I painted a line of riverbed boulders with markings made to evoke and honor the spirit of older native designs, as an experiment towards the eventual installation of painted rocks 12 miles to the southwest along the frontage of what was once a state hospital for the tubercular. Parts of the hospital were designed by Julia Morgan; it now exists as a facility for seniors.
I had recently seen the caves at Peche-Merle in France. Awash in the magic of those images and intrigued by indigenous rock art nearer home, I set out to try my own hand at putting color and line to granite, and my mind to studies about the mysteries of the origins of art.
The mysteries still remain, and the final installation was never realized, but the experiment was made, I called it Nuukunui, and it still exists, just below the site of a battle of the Indian Wars, the 1856 fight at Battle Mountain on the north fork of the Tule River.