the art of

Marlena Myles

digital artist + animator + fabric/fashion designer + book illustrator

Marlena Myles is a self-taught Native American (Spirit Lake Dakota, Mohegan, Muscogee) artist located in St Paul, Minnesota. She has gained recognition as being one of the few Dakota women creating digital art including fabric patterns, animations and illustrations to bring modernity to indigenous history, languages and oral traditions. Growing up on her traditional Dakota homelands here in the Twin Cities, she enjoys using her artwork to teach Minnesotans of all backgrounds the indigenous history of this place we call home.

Bde Óta Othúŋwe & Imnížaska Othúŋwe
Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minnesota (Twin Cities)

 

Dakhóta Thamákhočhe
(Dakota Land Maps)

These maps illustrate the story of the past, present and future of Dakota people and our language in our traditional homelands. Visit the project page to download free posters, purchase larger maps and learn more about the lands Dakota have called home for generations upon generations.

 

Thíŋta Wíta – Ȟemníčhaŋ Othúŋwe Wašté – Winúŋna
Prairie Island, Red Wing & Winona, Minnesota

“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.”

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.

I have created works for children’s books, coloring books, animations and fine art in galleries such as  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.

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.

Blog

My blog features interviews and news articles about my work as well as my writings, reviews and critique about (Native) art.

American Flag in Plains Tribes’ Art

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.

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