Find details about some of our Member Artists and their work here and on the individual Artist pages.
Miranda Red Cloud
In addition to carrying on the Red Cloud family quill work tradition, Miranda is employed at Red Cloud School, is studying business entrepreneurship at Oglala Lakota College, and is a proud Mom to two daughters.
Theresa Red Feather and Howard Blue Bird
To anyone familiar with the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Porcupine District specifically, the landscapes that cradle the subjects in Merle Locke’s paintings leave no doubt of his home and heritage. "The land is in my heart," he says, "that’s where I grew up and I spent a lot of time looking out over those hills.”
Winner of more than thirty jury awards, numerous logo and event design contests, two NativeAmericanMint.com coin designs, as well as placement in the permanent collection of the Red Cloud Heritage Center, to name a few of his accolades, Merle began work as a professional artist in 1992. His first show was the 1993 Black Hills Expo, a juried market. “There were a lot of talented artists there. I felt I didn’t belong. But I ended up winning first place, for an oil painting, a portrait of a Lakota woman. Juried shows were important to my becoming a known artist. I was very poor at the time. I did a lot of traveling with my art.”
“I have been interested in art since my childhood. My father was an artist and taught my brother and I how to paint. I’ve kept at it since then; I love art. Lakota art traditionally doesn’t depict the person’s face. Instead, they are identified by the things that are shown around them. Red indicates victory, green signifies hope, blue means fast or swift. Dragonflies bring hope and prosperity. Historically, when warriors went into battle they were surrounded by dragonflies. The warriors would try to move like the dragonfly, so that they would be impossible to shoot. That’s why I include the dragonflies. My hope is on the next world.
In each piece I leave something out; I was taught to leave something for yourself. I also like to keep the pencil marks. And I depict the full sun in all my paintings to honor the victory at the Battle of Greasy Grass, which took place at noon. I usually come across the title when a piece is almost at completion, after time and effort are put into it sincerely, the title will come to me. I pray my work goes to good homes.”
Merle’s work has included research of Ledger Art and he intends through his work to honor Native traditions and keep his work historically accurate. Merle first sketches with pencil then outlines his work using archival quality, waterproof, fade, and chemical resistant Pigma Micron Ink, then paints with water-based acrylic.
Kevin Poor Bear
Ward Two Eagle
Melvin War Eagle
Melvin War Eagle (Wanbli Ozuye) was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Melvin’s influences are his own ancestors, all masters of their own art, storytelling, and medicine.
As a boy, Melvin was continually surrounded by Lakota symbols and the designs of his ancestors. His elders would tell the stories of the old ways and the spirits of the land. Generations of culture and legend have flowed through Melvin’s veins from boyhood, compelling him to show the world through art and stories what it means, not only to be Lakota in modern times, but also how the art connects us all.
This reflection of traditional ancestral art combined with a contemporary modern twist pushes Melvin to express his artwork in unique ways, forever inventing new approaches in art, story, and fashion. This is why Melvin’s artwork is displayed on a variety of media. Melvin War Eagle’s work cannot be easily categorized; his exceptional designs are the product of modern life but they transcend the boundaries of everyday living to recall the magnificence and inspiration of the ancestors.
Shop our exclusive collection of Melvin War Eagle Designs.
Leonard Yellow Horse
“At a very young age I always knew I was an artist. I used to free hand draw cartoons for the Red Shirt Smoke Signal. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a sculptor. Art runs in the blood on both sides of my family. Whether a person is a painter, cartoonist or Lakota powwow dancer, does beadwork, jewelry, quillwork, or quilting, everyone can be an artist as long as they stick with it.”
Leonard is self-taught and started working with cottonwood in 1991. “It’s a calling from the Elders who want to be seen again, but through the roots. It’s not what I put into the root; the root has a voice and a character of its own. No two pieces are the same. Each piece is unique.”
Leonard’s distinctive figures are carved from cottonwood root sourced from dry riverbeds on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The unique characteristics of each piece of wood dictate the attributes of each figure. Hand carved with details added using a torch tool, each piece is signed with the artist's distinctive signature.
Leonard was born in 1971 in Chadron, Nebraska and has lived most of his life in South Dakota. He currently resides in Rapid City with his wife Lisa Marie and their three children.