The art of

Marlena Myles


Taƞyáƞ yahípi (welcome everyone)

Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota, Mohegan, Muscogee) is a Native American artist located in St Paul, Minnesota. She uses her art to celebrate her Indigenous culture & language as well as helping the public understand the significance of Native oral traditions and history and its representation through Native art.

She has gain recognition as being one of few Dakota women creating digital art and hopes her hard work will someday influence other young Native women to enter the art technology field and share their vision with the world.  She works often with Native youth in the community, including teaching digital art at the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute at the University of South Dakota and teaching graphic design to students at Migizi Communications, as well as teaching Water is Life workshops to young Minneapolis students.

Her hope is that the modern tools she uses behind her art will be a channel to the youth, to give them the inspiration to create a future that connects with our past, to create a future that is alive with our cultural values and languages.

Current Exhibitions

Aŋpétu Wí (Arts of the Americas gallery)

July 2017 | Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minneapolis, MN | June 9th – Ongoing 2018.

The Horse Nation of the Ochethi Sakowin

June 2018Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minneapolis Institute of Art, All My Relations Gallery, Two Rivers Gallery.
Minneapolis, MN | June 9th, 2018 – February 3rd, 2019

50th Annual Red Cloud Art Show

June 2018The Heritage Center
Pine Ridge, SD | June 3rd – August 12, 2018.

Her art continues the importance of the Dakota philosophy Mitakuye Owasin (We Are All Related) and with this understanding, we can heal the planet and our communities through positive actions and reflections.

Behind my art

I create my digital art using Adobe Illustrator.  Each piece consists of hundreds of layers, gradients and shapes placed upon each other.  When people think of Native American art, they may recall the geometric abstract styles that were historically used by women, or the figurative war scenes created by men, but my art combines both in a fresh way to revamp what people might think of Native art.

In 2017, my art was displayed at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Red Cloud Heritage Center, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the South Dakota Art Museum, and the Museum of Nebraska Art to name a few.

I also specialize in watercolor and graphite portraits when I’m not working on digital artwork.

“The common misconception with Native art is that it’s traditional — it’s stuck in the past. But the truth is that Native people have always been innovative. So, to use Illustrator is just a continuation of what my ancestors already did.”

Fashion Designs

My Dakota fashion designs are a fusion between my Native culture and various art/fashion/design movements. You can find them all at my Spoonflower account; the prices start at $17.50 for a yard (42″ width) for cotton and $18 for a yard (54″ width) of satin.

American Flag in Plains Tribes’ Art

Why would oppressed peoples adopt the preeminent symbol of their oppressors and employ it as a design element in their decorative arts? I used to be one of those people who hated seeing the American flag at powwows on reservations. Then I read a scholarly report about the American flag imagery throughout Native art and cultures for the Plains tribes. It helped me understand the meaning from Native peoples perspective throughout history.

read more

Contact me

3 + 10 =

Pin It on Pinterest