First American Art Magazine is a magazine, not an academic journal. Writing should be concise, specific, active, and vivid. Articles should be a pleasure to read. That said, quotes and controversial information should be cited. We will never knowingly print factually incorrect information, so speculative statements should be qualified.
American English is the default language (so color instead of colour, theater not theatre, etc.). Use Merriam-Webster when in doubt about any words that aren’t listed here. A trend in art writing is to add unnecessary hyphens; consult Merriam-Webster.
Warning: Do not pair the terms traditional and contemporary; they are trite and create a false dichotomy. Find more precise pairings, e.g., historical and contemporary, or use new terms that aren’t clichés. Minimize the use of tradition and traditional due their vagueness and overuse.
Almost every artist we cover is “award-winning.” Please find more specific ways to describe an artist’s accomplishments.
North America includes 23 independent countries and 23 territories. If you are discussing only Canada and the United States, do not use the term “North America,” because you are leaving out the majority of it and the majority of its Indigenous peoples. “Northern North America” would include Greenland. “Anglophone North America” would include Belize and most of the Caribbean.
- 1 Abbreviations
- 2 Bylines
- 3 Capitalization
- 4 Captions
- 5 Citations
- 6 Contact Information
- 7 Dates and Time
- 8 Degrees/Academic Titles
- 9 Dialogue
- 10 Formatting Content
- 11 Names
- 12 Numbers
- 13 Plurals
- 14 Profanity, aka the “Jason Asenap” rule
- 15 Punctuation
- 16 Specific Terms and Phrases
- 17 Titles of Artwork, Exhibitions, Etc.
- 18 Tribal and Ethnic Affiliations
- 2-D and 3-D instead of 2D or 3D
- Circa: ca. not c. (to avoid confusion with copyright)
- Acronyms for college degrees have no periods: AA, BFA, MFA, PhD, etc.
- Et cetera: etc.
- f-stop is lowercase with a hyphen, instead of a slash, but f-stop measurements are with a slash, e.g. f/8 and f/11.
- Fig. is capitalized and abbreviated in parenthetical clauses; spelled out Figure in sentences. Use of Figures in captions is discouraged.
- States and Provinces are spelled out in headlines and subheadings.
- Versus: vs. not v.
- US instead of U.S. or USA or U.S.A. “US” as an adjective, “United States” as a noun
- Two-letter postal codes for states/provinces do not have periods, eg. NM, OK, QC, BC, AM, and MG. Spell out states and provinces in prose. Okay to use two-letter codes in calendar listings.
Bylines appear below the title in profiles, interviews, and feature articles. The first word is capitalized, e.g. By Joe Bob
In reviews, reports, and memorials, bylines go at the end and have a space, an em-dash, and the author’s name in italics, e.g., —Jane Q. Public.
Art movements and styles such as Social Realism, Flatstyle, Woodland School, Bacone School, Outsider Art, etc., are capitalized. Eras, such as modernism and post-modernism, are left lowercase, as is new media.
Indigenous and Native are capitalized when referring to people but not when referring to a non-human being from a particular region, e.g. blue flax is native to Montana.
Authors may choose to capitalize Ancestors or Elders. The capitalization just has to stay consistent throughout the article.
Clan names in Indigenous languages are capitalized, the clan name in English is capitalized, and the word clan is left lowercase, i.e. Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí (Zuni Water’s Edge clan) or Anigategewi (Wild Potato clan).
In interviews, when someone laughs, capitalization of the word [laughs] is contingent on the positioning the sentence, i.e. if it precedes the sentence, it is capitalized. If it stands alone, it is written: [Laughs.]
graffiti/street artists’ tags (e.g. SABA), Argentium, art movements, Chac Mool, Indian Country, Indigenous when referring to people, Manitou, Mountie, Mylar, Paleo-Indians, Plexiglas, Ravenstail, T-shirt, and section titles of art exhibitions.
Book appendices and chapters (e.g. chapter four); eyedazzler; formline; heather ahtone; indigenous when referring to plants or fungi, jingle dance or jingle dress, new genres/new media, rez, settler, or the word site in the names of archaeological sites.
Captions are loosely follow on CAA’s caption style but are simplified.
DIRECTION (in all caps, not bolded: ABOVE, BELOW, BOTTOM, LEFT, RIGHT, COVER, OPPOSITE, TOP), FIGURE #: Artist Name (Tribal Affiliation, dates if deceased), Title of Work, from Name of Series series, year completed, type of item, media on support, dimensions height × width × depth in., place of origin, museum collection, accession number. Image courtesy of XXX. Photo: Credit (© Company or CC license).
- COVER: Nani Chacon (Navajo), Reclamation: Manifestations of Changing Woman, 2012, oil on panel, 24 × 24 in., Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image courtesy of the artist.
- ABOVE: Ancestral Yuman peoples, Blythe Intaglios, ca. 668–1158 CE, monumental male human-like figure, quadruped, and spiral geoglyphs, Blythe, California. Aerial photo: Jim Wark (© Airphoto).
If a work is untitled, italicized the word Untitled in the caption.
Measurements: We use inches and fractions, e.g. 8⅔.
All captions end with a period.
Generally “figures” should be avoided in captions. These are articles, not books, so readers can most likely find the image in question.
We use Chicago-style footnotes (Purdue OWL is a great resource). In submitted Word documents, writers should use brackets  instead of actual superscript numbers 1 in manuscripts, and footnotes should be placed at the end of the document. Don’t use Microsoft Word’s footnotes tool. This helps with the transfer from Word to InDesign, where the footnote numbers will be changed to back superscript.
With web citations, we deviate from Chicago by using the term “web” instead of printing the entire URL. Examples:
- Eliza Gregory, “Joi Arcand—Plains Cree,” Contemporary North American Indigenous Artists, March 11, 2012, web.
Gregory, Eliza. “Joi Arcand—Plains Cree.” Contemporary North American Indigenous Artists. March 11, 2012. Web.
- Phone Numbers: US phone number will be in the format (xxx) xxx-xxxx. Any phone number outside the United States should be preceded by its country, e.g. +1 (xxx) xxx-xxx.
- Our address: 133 24th Avenue NW #126, Norman, OK 73069.
Dates and Time
Use the format July 6, 2012, instead of 6 June 2012 or 6.June.2012. For month and year only, use no punctuation. For a date that occurs in the middle of a sentence, use a comma after the day and year.
- In June 2012 I won the award.
- June 6, 2012, was a horrible day in history.
Birth and death dates can be listed (1904–1984). For living artists, use (b. 1904) instead of (1904– ), since the latter looks like someone is waiting for the artist to die.
- CE and BCE instead of AD and BC. Both CE and BCE follow the years (3,000 BCE).
- Arabic numerals for ordinals over twelfth: Use 20th century instead of twentieth century.
- 1900s refers only to the first decade of the 20th century. Write 20th century if referring to the entire century.
- A decade doesn’t have an apostrophe before the s: 1860s, not 1860’s.
With time, follow Chicago style with hours and minutes separated by a colon, followed by a space, and then am or pm (no periods), e.g.: 10:00 am, 2:30 pm, etc.
Academic degrees: In accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style, degrees are lowercase when written out. Examples:
James Luna earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at University of California, Irvine.
He introduced Luna, bachelor of fine arts.
Academic Degree Abbreviations: Capitalized, no periods (MFA, BFA, PhD)
If a person has a doctoral degree, list it after her or his name in a contributing writer’s biography or in the first mention of her or his name in an article. Alfred Young Man, PhD (Cree), taught at the University of Lethbridge.
Academic Programs: if general terms, lowercase; if referring to a specific school’s program or class capitalized, e.g., art history, Indigenous Liberal Studies, etc.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees both require apostrophes. Bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of fine arts, and doctor of philosophy in art history have no apostrophe.
In prose, spoken and written dialogue is placed inside quotation marks. Single quotations marks are reserved for quotations within quotations. Thoughts and internal dialogues are italicized.
In question-and-answer formats, the interviewer’s dialogue is bolded. The interviewee’s dialogue is left plain.
Artist Interviews/Profiles.: Titles include tribal affiliation, media, and name of the artist, e.g. “Kalaalleq Filmmaker and Interdisciplinary Artist: Inuk Silis Høegh.” Byline is listed below the title. Websites are listed at the end.
Memorials. The most recognizable name is listed, then the birth and death dates. The full name, if different then the name in the title, is listed in the first paragraph, along with the person’s tribal affiliation. Bylines are at the end with a space, em-dash, and italicized author’s name.
Reviews, Book. The review begins with the title of the book, “By” author’s or editor’s name, publisher’s name, year of publication.ylines are at the end with a space, em-dash, and italicized author’s name.
Reviews, Show. The review begins with the city of the exhibition. State, province, and/or country are listed only if the city is not immediately recognizable. Then the title of the exhibition is listed, followed by the venue. Bylines are at the end with a space, em-dash, and italicized author’s name.
No comma before “Jr.” or “Sr.”, e.g., Roy Boney Jr. and Daniel McCoy Jr.
If someone is a Native PhD, the PhD should be listed before the tribal affiliation, e.g. Joe Schmoe, PhD (Paskenta Nomlaki).
Some individuals prefer lowercase, such as dg smalling and heather ahtone (also grunt gallery).
Try to remove hyphens in Indian names.
When an artist is deceased, list their cultural/tribal affiliation, then birth and death dates, e.g. Diego Quispe Tito (Quechua, 1611–1681).
Unless there is a specific reason to use Kiowa Five, the term Kiowa Six is preferred.
Spell out numbers zero through twelve. Use a numeral for numbers 13 and higher, unless they begin a sentence. Hundred, thousand, and million can be spelled out.
- Insert comma in four–digit numbers, e.g., 1,396.
- Ordinals: no superscript.
- Determining whether even numbers should be Arabic or spelled out: twenties, thirties, etc., instead of 20s, 30s, etc. An exception might be if decades are being described.
Units of measurement (Chicago 8.15) in running text should be spelled out. When more than two units of measurement appear together in the text, use numerals with abbreviations (e.g., 9 g, 10 mph).
- helixes not helices
- hösig di is both a singular and plural
- huipiles is the plural of huipil, not huipils
- Inuit is the plural of Inuk
- inuksuit is the plural of inuksuk
- Iñupiat is the plural of Iñupiaq
- Media is the plural of medium
- Kalaallit is the plural of Kalaalleq
- Passamaquoddies is the plural of Passamaquoddy, not Passamaquoddys
- Pottery can be singular and plural; do not use potteries, except when referring to multiple companies or towns that manufacture ceramics (typically in England)
- Steles is the plural of stele (The term is Greek, not Latin)
- Still lifes is the plural of still life, not still lives
- Unangan (Eastern) and Unangas (Western) uis the plural of Unangax̂ or Aleut
- Yupiit is the plural of Yupik.
Besides singular and plural, northern languages often have terms to two of something. When referring to a singular artist’s tribal affiliation, use the singular term.
Profanity, aka the “Jason Asenap” rule
Since FAAM is read in schools and reaches a diverse audience, we are not enthusiastic about gratuitous profanity. Typically curse words can be abbreviated to their first letter followed by an em-dash, e.g. f—er, s—hole. If the word is part of the title of an exhibition, artwork, or series, it can be spelled out completely. Random punctuation can be substituted (%$&#) if the intent is humorous.
Only one space after punctuation, since the fonts are all designed to create extra space (don’t worry, we can make the changes in MS Word if you are a two-space typist).
Oxford commas/serial commas. In a list of three or more items, use a comma after each, such as here, here, and here.
Commas after clauses. In a compound sentence, use a comma before the coordinating conjunction (but, and, so, etc.); use a semicolon and comma with adverbial conjunctions (therefore, however, finally, etc.).
- I missed the bus, so I was late.
- I missed the bus; therefore, I was late.
Punctuation falls within quotations marks: “There is where the comma goes,” and that’s how we roll.
When listing a specific campus location after a college/university’s name, use a comma not an en-dash, e.g. University of Alaska, Sitka, or Diné College, Chinlé.
Specific Terms and Phrases
Non-English words: Personal nouns, especially given names, do not need to be italicized. Italicize non-English words if they are not commonly used. If the same word is used repeatedly in the same article, only italicize the first time.
Use diacritical marks: hozho –> hózhó.
Glottal stops: Use IPA glottal stop symbol: “Núh Kaʔáwshan”; don’t use question marks: “Núh Ka?áwshan”
- 3D printing not 3-D printing or three-dimensional printing.
- acknowledgment not acknowledgement
- aha not a-ha
- among not amongst
- anticolonial, not anti-colonial
- archaeologist, archaeological, and archaeology rather than archeologist, archeological, and archeology
- artifact, not artefact
- award-winning not awardwinning or award winning as an adjective (but try to avoid this term)
- backward and forward not backwards and forwards
- basket weaver not basketweaver
- braintan not brain tan or brain-tan (as a noun. An adjective, e.g. brain-tanned buckskin, would need a hyphen.)
- beadwork/beadworker not bead work/bead worker
- beargrass not bear grass or bear-grass
- birchbark is one word, as per Merriam-Webster
- breechcloth not breechclout or breech-cloth
- catalogue not catalog; cataloguing not cataloging
- ceramicist not ceramist; ceramic artist is also used
- Chac Mool (capitalized) instead of chacmool or chac-mool
- The Ciri Foundation capitalizes the The.
- co-curator, not cocurator (just because it looks weird)
- cofound not co-found (typically the suffix co- doesn’t require a hyphen unless preceding an O)
- collectible, not collectable
- concha, not concho when referring to hammered, metal discs
- co-write and co-written, not cowrite or cowritten (again, looks odd)
- cradleboard, not cradle board
- Cuzco not Cusco
- dialogue, not dialog
- druzy, not druse or drusy
- eBay, not Ebay or E-bay
- eBook use camelcase, no hyphen
- email not Email or e-mail
- eyedazzler not eye dazzler or eye-dazzler
- fingerweaving instead of finger weaving or finger-weaving
- fish skin, not fishskin or fish-skin (as a noun. An adjective, e.g. fish-skin parka, would require a hyphen.)
- flautist not flutist
- flyer not flier
- formline (not capitalized midsentence) not Formline or form-line
- forward not forwards
- Frybread is one word.
- giclée, not Giclée or giclee
- giveaway is a noun. If you are describing an action, use two words: give away.
- grave house appears in literature as two separate words.
- grey not gray
- hand game is two words as a noun, hyphenated as an adjective, e.g hand-game tournament.
- hairpipe not hair pipe or hair-pipe
- hawk bell not hawkbell or hawk-bell
- heartline not heart-line or heart line
- heishi not heishe
- hide when discussing deer or buffalo hide, not leather (use this to describe commercially processed cowhide or goathide)
- an historian or an historical, not a historian or a historical
- horsehair, one word as an adjective
- hösig di not Hösig Di or Hosig Di. This Embera-language term is both a singular and plural.
- huipiles is the plural of huipil, not huipils
- hyperpictorial not hyper-pictorial
- imageNative Film & Media Arts Festival
- Inca not Incan
- inkjet, one word, not ink jet or ink-jet
- interdisciplinary instead of inter-disciplinary or multidisciplinary
- inuksuk not inukshuk (also: inuksuit is plural)
- J.Okuma has no space between the period and the O
- jingle dance and jingle dress are lowercase
- Job’s-tears instead of job’s tears or jobs tears (i.e. capitalize and use a hyphen)
- Juncus is a common name for rushes used Southern California basketry also well as a genus, so unless it is used specifically as the genus, it is acceptable to leave it romanized and lowercase.
- katsina (katsinam plural) is preferred over kachina/kachinas, unless a carver uses kachina (in their quotes, art titles, or other conversations), then his preference is followed. Use katsina figure instead of kachina dolls.
- katsin tihu does not require a hyphen in the noun form
- Kha Po Owingeh for the Tewa name of Santa Clara Pueblo
- khipu not quipu
- Maya people instead of Mayan people (Mayan only refers to the language, not the people or cultures)
- Manitou should be capitalized.
- mat board, not matboard
- matchcoat, not match coat
- media is the plural of medium, as opposed to mediums
- mollusk, not mollusc
- moosehair, one word as an adjective (moosehair tufting)
- moundbuilder, uncapitalized, not mound builder or mound-builder
- Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne with hyphens for town
- multistone not multi-stone
- Mylar should be capitalized.
- Nazca not Nasca
- National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center with no comma between Indian and George. If the National Museum of the American Indian has already been introduced in an article, it can be shortened to NMAI George Gustav Heye Center. On subsequent mentions, it can be shortened to the Heye Center.
- okay, not ok or O.K.
- Paleo-Indians (hyphenated with both P and I capitalized) not paleo-Indians or Paleoindians.
- papier-mâché not papier mache (both noun and adjective forms have hyphens)
- Passamaquoddies is the plural of Passamaquoddy, not Passamaquoddys.
- Photoshoot instead of photo shoot or photo-shoot
- pleaded not pled
- Plexiglas (capitalized) instead of plexiglass, PlexiGlas, or plexiGlass
- pine nut not pinenut or pine-nut
- plow not plough
- PM Waterlily
- Postclassic period (in Mesoamerican chronology) not Post-classic or Post-classic
- post-contact, not postcontact
- postdoctoral, not post-doctoral
- precontact, not pre-contact
- readymade, as in found art objects, one word, no hyphen
- rock ’n’ roll instead of rock-n-roll, rock and roll, etc.
- roofs, not rooves
- rivercane not river cane
- sandhill crane, not sand hill crane or sand-hill crane
- sandpainting is a single word whether a noun or a verb
- screen printing instead of screen-printing or screenprinting. Also serigraphy or silk-screen printing.
- shepherding not sheepherding
- skill set not skillset
- sight lines not sightlines
- smartphone not smart phone
- SpongeBob SquarePants is camelcase.
- Starship Enterprise instead of USS Enterprise, since there is a US Navy aircraft carrier named Enterprise.
- stele and steles not stela and stelae or stelæ (The term is Greek, not Latin.)
- still lifes is the plural of still life, not still lives
- sweetgrass not sweet grass or sweet-grass
- terracotta not terra cotta
- tempera is a vague term; if possible, clarify whether distemper (poster paint) or egg tempera is being discussed
- toward not towards
- type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes use numerals. These terms are preferable to childhood diabetes or adult-onset diabetes.
- type sit, not type-site or typesite
- Walmart not Wal-Mart or Wal-mart
- Waterbird (written lowercase mid-sentence) is one word when discussing the symbol used in the Native American Church, but not when discussing actual birds.
- whimsy not whimsey, in regards to beaded, soft sculpture
- Woodblock is a single word when describing a print. Wood block is two words when describing the physical, carved block of wood to make the print.
- workbasket not work basket or work-basket
- World War I (and World War II) not World War 1 or World War One
Titles of Artwork, Exhibitions, Etc.
- Art shows are italicized: Changing Hands 3.
- Art fairs/markets/biennials, not italicized: Santa Fe Indian Market
- Book titles, artwork titles, art exhibitions, series of works, and film titles are all italicized.
- Sections within art exhibitions are capitalized but not italicized.
- Titles of chapters, articles, or essays within books or other publications are placed in quotation marks.
Tribal and Ethnic Affiliations
Terms for indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Aboriginal Peoples of Canada refers to First Nations, Métis, and Canadian Inuit peoples.
Alaska Natives refers to Indigenous peoples of Alaska, which include Iñupiat (Inuit), Yupik, Aleut, and American Indian peoples, such as Athabascan and Tlingit peoples.
American Indian refers to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas who are not Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut. It is not a preferred term in Canada and does not refer to all Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
First Nations are the Indigenous peoples of Canada who are not Métis or Inuit. They include people whose languages are Algonquian, Athabascan, Haida, Iroquois, Kutenai, Salish, Siouan, Tsimshian, and Wakashan.
Mestizo refers to people of mixed Indigenous and Iberian descent and does not need to be capitalized mid-sentence.
Métis are a specific ethnic group descended from European-Canadian and First Nation peoples, often French-Canadians and Cree, Ojibwe, and Salteaux peoples. The Métis Nation was formed in the Red River region of Manitoba.
Native American often, but not always, refers to Indigenous peoples of what is now the United States and includes American Indians and Alaskan Natives and sometimes Native Hawaiians.
Native and Indigenous are capitalized, and black, white, etc. are lowercase. Hyphenate non-Native and non-Indigenous.
List an artist’s tribal affiliation after the first mention of her or his name in parentheses. The tribal affiliation only has to be listed once an article; it doesn’t have to be repeated. Example: Mabel McKay (Long Valley Pomo-Patwin) was a basket weaver. McKay was also a healer.
When a person has multiple tribes, use a hyphen with her/his enrolled tribe listed first, Long Valley Pomo-Patwin, e.g., Mabel McKay is a Long Valley Pomo-Patwin basket weaver.
Use hyphens in terms like African-American, Asian-Canadian, and European-American.
When someone uses an autonym that is not immediately recognizable, the common name can be placed in brackets, i.e., “James Luna (Puyukitchum [Luiseño])”
Tribal affiliation: Legal names of US tribes taken from the Federal Registrar can be found at Alaska Native tribal entities and US federally recognized tribes. Ethnologue is good general source for current names of ethnic groups in the Americas.
Shorten specific tribes enough that the specific tribe is still clear: Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Eastern Band Cherokee.
Non-tribally affiliated individuals: List as “of Comanche descent” or So-and-so (Comanche descent).
Try to avoid the term Eskimo unless there is a compelling reason to use the term. Never use the term “Digger Indian.”
Only use “Pit River Tribe” when specifically discussing that federally recognized tribe; otherwise disambiguate. Try to disambiguate between Northern and Southern Paiute people.
- Métis has an accent over the e.
- Don’t use Sioux if possible. Disambiguate between Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, and Nakoda.
- Don’t use Iroquois if possible. List actual tribe or use Haudenosaunee, preferred over League of the Iroquois.
- “Native American” typically refers to the people Indigenous to what is now the United States. “American Indian” does not include Inuit, Ungangan/s, Yupiit, Métis, or Native Hawaiian peoples.
- Use Inuit singular and plural forms: Cup’iq/Cup’it, Inuk/Inuit, Iñupiaq/Iñupiat, Kalaalleq/Kalaallit, Tupilaq/Tupliit.
- Iñupiaq and Iñupiat have a tilde over the n. The language is Iñupiaq.
- Use Inca and Maya not Incan or Mayan, unless discussing Mayan languages.
As a rule of thumb, use the term preferred by the community, and try to be as specific as possible.
“Mississippian Ideological Interactive Sphere” or “Mississippian cultures” is preferred over “Southeastern Ceremonial Complex.” Never use “Southern Cult” or “Southern Death Cult.”
With Brazilian tribes, the English or Spanish spelling is preferred over Portuguese, i.e., use k rather than c. Don’t use the terms Macu or Maku. Find another term for the tribe.
|Preferred Spelling of Ethnic Group||To Avoid (Only Use for a Compelling Reason)|
|Ancestral Pueblo people||Anasazi, Ancient Puebloan people|
|Cherokee||Tsalagi or Aniyvniwa (which should be Aniyvniwaʔi anyway)|
|Caddo, Ancestral Caddo||Caddoan|
|Kewa Pueblo||Santo Domingo Pueblo|
|K’iche’ Maya||Quiché Maya|
|Koasati||Coushatta or Quassarte; when discussing a specific federally recognized tribe, use the tribe’s spelling|
|Kwakwaka’wakw||Kwakiutl, Kwakwaka’wakw (without diacritics)|
|Muscogee or Muscogee Creek||Creek|
|Nahua||Aztec, which is reserved for the Aztec Empire|
|Ohkay Owingeh||San Juan Pueblo|
|Ojibwe (default)||Chippewa (only use if the person’s tribe uses this term), Ojibwa, Ojibway, Anishinaabe (use this when the actual tribe is unknown)|
|Sami or Lapp
|Yup’ik (with an accent)||refers to Central Alaska Yup’ik|
|Yupik (without an accent)||refers to St. Lawrence Yupik, Siberian Yupik|