Cris Fulton grew up in Bowman, North Dakota, in the southwestern corner of the state. From an early age she enjoyed drawing and taking photographs. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Dakota in 1973. She studied photography on her own, and at some workshops in Bemidji State College during the summer of 1975.
After graduation from college, Cris spent a year as a VISTA volunteer at Pierre Indian School in South Dakota. Then she taught basic skills and art for a year in Slope County, North Dakota. From these experiences she developed an interest in Indian culture and an appreciation for the beauty of her native landscape.
Following her photography workshops in 1975, Cris moved to Minneapolis, where she lived for twelve years. There she began drawing cowboys and Indians. At first her drawings were done with pencil and white wash highlights. Later she started to use soft pastels on illustration board, making large drawings of Indian powwow dancers.
In 1988, Cris moved to Taos, New Mexico. She continued to make pastel drawings of Indian dancers, then added Aztec dancers and mythological figures to her body of work. Some of her Aztec dancer and mythology drawings were published by Pomegranate Publications in 1994.
Cris moved back to Bowman in 1993, and began working on a Native American exhibit and native plant gardens for Pioneer Trails Regional Museum. These projects got her out into the prairie country surrounding her hometown, and she began to photograph and draw landscapes. Her photographs have been published by North Dakota Horizons, NMN, Inc. of Minnesota, and in a book and calendar for the Bowman County centennial celebration. She has had several art exhibits in the Bowman area at the museum and the library. Her most recent exhibit at Bowman Regional Public Library combined her newest landscape drawings with her series of horse drawings, and was titled “Dakota Prairie Home.”
One of her landscape drawings was chosen for the “Arts Dakota” touring exhibition, which was displayed throughout the state from 2009 to 2010. Her “Equus” series of drawings was shown at the offices of Governor John Hoeven and First Lady Mikey Hoeven from April to June, 2009. Twenty of her landscape drawings were selected by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association for a “Prairie Pastels” touring exhibition that traveled to various galleries throughout North Dakota from 2009 to 2010.
The Rider Gallery at Dickinson State University featured the artwork of Cris Fulton and Sheila Rieman in July of 2010. Fulton also had a solo show at Dickinson State University Art Gallery in late summer of 2010, which was titled “Prairie Territory.” One of her crocus photographs was published on the cover of North Dakota Horizons magazine in the spring of 2011. She continues to explore the subject matter of landscapes, horses, buffalo, and sunflowers, and is currently working with pastel pencils on paper as well as oil sticks on canvas panels. Future plans include some work with watercolor crayons.