Raised in a military family, Gibson had an itinerant childhood, growing up in the U.S., South Korea, England, and Germany. He also has Cherokee ancestry and is a member of Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. When describing the appeal of beads, Gibson seems to see something of a reflection of himself: a global traveler, but one who values his roots. “The bead has successfully moved around the world, seducing us in order to maintain its longevity,” he explains. “Conceptually, I also like that they are glass, a material made from sand, the earth.”
Gibson first began incorporating beads into his work during his undergraduate years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he made small dolls, decorating them with paint and beads, and allowing the latter to act as a sort of pigment. The versatility of the medium, with its many practical functions and multitude of possible meanings, attracted him. “I think of beads as sculptural objects, weights, pixels, glass, plastic, clay, as currency, toys, jewelry,” he says.
Although Gibson is a multi-disciplinary artist, beading is the medium that most explicitly conjures his roots. His beadwork often combines artifacts of popular culture, such as the lyrics of pop songs and Everlast punching bags, with Native American art materials and techniques. His heavily embellished punching bags and his powerfully charismatic beaded figures challenge the notion that Native American craft traditions are only historical, insisting that they refer to vibrant and living cultures.