Digital Art

Vector Illustrations

Early in her career, Marlena worked primarily in traditional charcoal drawings and portraits.  Over time, she evolved as an artist and her work now focuses primarily of digital vector drawings.  These drawings are built on a geometric pattern of vibrant but distinctive colors resulting in jewel-like scenes.  Her artistic process is organic and fluid.  Images seen in both dreams and the world around her often provide the initial inspiration for her virtual artworks.


From these visions she then creates unique patterns and designs that form the basis of the vectored illustration.  These patterns are digitally manipulated into shapes that represent animals or people.  The unique layering of shapes and forms is a proprietary technique that Marlena developed herself through trial and error.

Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Exhibition

Location: Various locations (SD, MN) | Opening Date: September 2016
I created three pieces for this exhibition, inspired by my people's connection to the horse nation.

Inspired by the voices and perspectives of the Šúŋka Wakȟáŋ Oyáte (Horse Nation) gathered through community informed processes, we respectfully called on the Artists of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to represent their culture, relatives, homelands, and Oyáte by contributing original, compelling artworks purely inspired by aesthetic, not commerce, in relation to and inspired by the “Horse Nation” of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ to be exhibited on behalf of the Ikčé Oyáte (Common Nation) of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ.

The exhibit will expand on the (2014) film made by Keith Brave Heart titled We Are A Horse Nation, about the Horse Nation of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. It will present an authentic voice and positive perspective regarding the people of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and their cultural relations and philosophies of the “Horse Nation.” It will also transform current curatorial processes; from a top-down institution-led practice to a grassroots, community-influenced process.

See Exhibition

Thaóyate Dúta

His Red Nation

Haŋwákhaŋ Thašúŋke

Northern Lights’ Horse

Wičháŋȟpi Iwáŋkab Akíčhita

Above the Stars Soldier

Animal Spirits

Showcased in my solo exhibition in Rapid City, SD at the Sioux Indian Museum.  The exhibition ran from February 5 to April 22, 2016.

As Native Americans, as Dakota people of the Oceti Sakowin, these masks symbolize our kinship with the animal nations and our relationship with the four directions.

The Wamanica Ounchage (forms of animals) are built from fragmented geometric pieces and are embodiments of the Nagi (spirit) as formed from Taku Wakan Skanskan (sacred motion of the universe). The beginning of the universe is the creation of everything, and we are all related through Wakan Tanka (the mysterious genesis).

These pieces pass on the energy of ancient knowledge in a modern way: for time immemorable, my people have honored our relations with the animal nations through art, songs, and stories. This collection 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.

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