Both the palette and the subject matter of Jack Sabon's Indian paintings were set at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. Steeped in the pan-Indian culture of the school's atmosphere, he began for the first time to tap into his roots for inspiration. The brilliant colors of the Southwest influenced the choices of hues for his work there and he often reached back to Alaska for subject matter. The combination of the two produced works like "Thunderbird by Crocuses".
The shaman series features dramatic, faceless figures; sometimes benignly musing as in "Shaman's Weave", other times embroiled in the drama of the universe as in "Essential Elements". The horned figure of "Shaman Drum" enhances the instrument to the point of seemingly influencing the sound.
"Sweat Lodge Rocks, I and II" are part of a series of nine paintings of glowing sweat lodge rocks which Sabon has combined in groupings of four to nine in various shows. They nest in the pit in the dark sweat lodge, glowing and sizzling, waiting the water that makes them heat the lodge.
Indian humor is seen in the work of a number of 20th and 21st century Indian artists from T.C. Cannon to Sam English. Sabon's humor comes out in "Game's On", with the juxtaposition of the ancient tipi and the contemporary solar panels and satellite dish. Inside, the glow of a television holds a group of Indians mesmerized as they follow the game. In a lot of works of this genre, it is the conflict between past and present that provides the subtle humor.
Finally, the two "Water Birds I and II" are influenced by the tipi ceremonies of the Native American Church.