Hello, I’m Marlena Myles and I’m a Native American graphic designer and fine artist in St. Paul, MN.  I specialize in vector illustrations and portrait art; I also design flyers, logos and websites for organizations and companies of all shapes and sizes.  Feel free to contact me if you’d like to work together on your next project!

2017: I was selected to be a First Peoples Fund fellow, and with their resources I am lending my talents and voice to this cause of keeping our stories relevant. I am creating Dakota educational materials with assistance from the Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, illustrating our stories using modern technology. My hope is that the modern tools I use behind my 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.

When I’m not working on art, I’m a student of philosophy, avid Timberwolves (NBA) and Tennis fan.  I believe in a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.  I’ve replaced watching television with owning a Kindle; Russian literature is my favorite genre.  Mozart is my favorite composer to play on my flute~

A Native American artist (Spirit Lake Dakota, Mohegan, Muscokee Creek) and designer who takes great care to create visually stunning designs. Marlena has the talent and ability to quickly understand clients’ requirements and has the experience to provide clients with the best solutions to their needs.  She’s a hardworking artist who is willing to go above and beyond to exceed expectations.

She’s a 2017 First People’s Fund Fellow where she is developing Dakota language materials, working with fluent Dakota speakers (both elders and young) and with children in the community.  She believes that with effort, intelligence, and consideration, nothing is impossible.

Creating Art for All

Awards

  • First Peoples Fund Fellowship 2017
  • Native POP: People of the Plains 2016 Innovation Award
  • Crazy Horse Memorial Continuing Education Grant 2016

Publications

Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art & Thought
SPRING 2017, Cover Art
“Otter Spirit” is featured as the cover art for the 10th anniversary of this prestigious journal.

We Are a Horse Nation Documentary
JULY 2014, TIWAHE GLU KINI PI
A digital piece featured in the documentary film, piece is a tribute to the 38 Dakota warriors who were hanged in Mankato, MN in 1862 on orders signed by President Lincoln.

Indigenous Message on Water
FEBRUARY 2014, INDIGENOUS WORLD FORUM ON WATER AND PEACE
A poem about my Dakota homeland published in the multi-lingual book focusing on the sacredness of water to the Indigenous people of the Americas.

Exhibitions

My exhibition experience began in the online community Cosmosys, where I worked with international artists and designers to refine my digital art skills.  Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum was home to my first exhibition in 2014.  My first solo exhibition was in Rapid City, SD at the Sioux Indian Museum, Journey Museum in 2016.

In 2016, I worked on the Horse Nation of the Oceti Sakowin exhibition as a core artist. This exhibition represented an authentic voice and positive perspective regarding the Dakota/Lakota people; during the creation process, I traveled to different tribal communities in Minnesota and South Dakota listening to the voices of the people as inspiration for my art. The exhibition debut at the Heritage Center on the Pine Ridge reservation before traveling to various galleries in South Dakota; Summer 2018 it will open at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and All My Relations Gallery.

Also in 2016, I created an 18’ x 24’ mural at Intermedia Arts Center for Rosy Simas’ Skin(s) Exhibition, which revealed the power and diversity of urban Native artists. The mural illustrated the traditional Dakota/Lakota creation story, Uncekhiha Wins the Great Race. As a separate project, I created Mni Hdathanin (Water Makes Its Own Appearance), rain-activated indigenous sidewalk art that is only revealed when it rains. This project debut at last year’s Open Streets Minneapolis.

2017 begins with various shows exhibiting illustrations from my upcoming children’s book.

Skills

  • Adobe Illustrator 100%
  • Adobe Photoshop 88%
  • WordPress 95%
  • Web Hosting 80%
  • Design Strategy 75%
  • Painting / Drawing 95%
  • 3D Printing 60%
  • Social Media & Digital Marketing 80%
  • Content Management 75%

“Books for parents to read to their children, to teach them about their native heritage and reclaim the language as their own, Marlena makes art that belongs to all.”

Interviews / News Articles

Freelance Artist & Designer
SEPTEMBER 2004 – PRESENT
Responsibilities include working with clients to access their needs, create logo, website branding.  Clients include Indian Health Board, Minneapolis and Bloomington Park & Recreations Boards, New Native Theatre, Two Rivers Gallery.

Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute / Digital Art Instructor
JUNE 2017,  UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA
Introducing different techniques in art technology to Native high school students.

Nawayee Center School / Visiting Artist
APRIL 2017 – MAY 2017,  MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Working with the middle/high school students to lead a community art project at the Mde Maka Ska festival.

All My Relations Arts / Gallery Attendant and Designer
FEBRUARY 2016 – FEBRUARY 2017,  MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Maintaining gallery, assisting the curator in setting up exhibitions and gallery events, updating social media and designing promotional material.

Mni Hdathanin: Rain-activated Indigenous Art / Director
AUGUST 2016 – PRESENT,  TWIN CITIES, MN
Creating sidewalk art using stencils and original Indigenous art to bring awareness to Indigenous relationships with water/nature.

Markets

Native POP: People of the Plains

July 2017 | Main Street Square
Rapid City, SD | July 14-15, 2017

Grantmakers in the Arts reception

October 2016 | Harriet Island Pavilion
Saint Paul, MN | October, 2016

River Balcony Art Market

September 2016 | Mississippi River
Saint Paul, MN

Native POP: People of the Plains

July 2016 | Main Street Square
Rapid City, SD | July 15-16, 2016

3rd Annual Gathering of People, Wind and Water

July 2015 | Main Street Square
Rapid City, SD | July 17-18, 2015

Exhibitions

Water is Life

June 2017Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Minneapolis, MN | June 9th – August 31st, 2017.

For Directions

May 2017Two Rivers Gallery
Minneapolis, MN | May 19th – July 31st, 2017.

Design Impact Series: Print Show

May 2017AIGA Minnesota / St. Paul Neighborhood Network
St. Paul, MN | May 20th, 2017.

The Horse Nation of the Ochethi Sakowin

April 2017South Dakota Art Museum
Brookings, SD | April – August 2017.

The Horse Nation of the Ochethi Sakowin

December 2016 | The Dahl Art Center
Rapid City, SD | 12.16.16 – 03.24.17

Animal Nations, Four Directions

December 2016 | 924 Hennepin Avenue (A.R.T Gallery)
Minneapolis, MN | 12.08.16 – 03.30.17

Skins Exhibition

October 2016 | Intermedia Arts Minneapolis, MN

Horse Nation Exhibition

September 2016 | Red Cloud Heritage Center

Where Purple Reigns: Minnesota Artists on Prince

June 2016 | UROC Gallery
Minneapolis, MN | June – July, 2016

Solo Exhibition

February 2016 | Sioux Indian Museum, Journey Museum
Rapid City, SD | February 5 – April 22, 2016

On Fertile Ground

September 2015 | All My Relations gallery
Minneapolis, MN | September 11-November 20, 2015

Giona Sezoha G’dakinna: We Paint Our Land

July 2014 | Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum
Warner, NH

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