Marcus Amerman is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He was born in Phoenix, AZ and grew up in the Pacific Northwest before settling in Santa Fe, NM. He received a BA in Fine Art at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and took additional art courses at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. He credits the Plateau region and its wealth of talented bead artists with introducing him to the “traditional” art form of beadwork. He quickly made this art form his own, however, by creating a new genre of bead artistry in which beads are stitched down, one by one, to create realistic, pictorial images, not just large color fields or patterns.

Amerman draws upon a wide range of influences to create strikingly original works that reflect his background of having lived in three different regions with strong artistic traditions, his academic introduction to pop art and social commentary, and his inventive exploration of the potential artistic forms and expressions using beads. Although he is best known for his bead art, he is also a multimedia artist, painter, performance artist (his character “Buffalo Man” can be seen on the cover of the book Indian Country), fashion designer, and glass artist, as well. His work is in the permanent collections of museums such as the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Portland Art Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, among many others.

Artist’s Statement:

To define my concept of art is much like defining my concept of God. It is something elusive. It is something that is constantly changing, evolving, and growing. It is a Great Mystery.

The act of creating art is a process that consciously embraces this mystery of life. To participate in this creation called life is to look for clues. One clue leads to the next clue. I must constantly challenge my own thoughts, emotions, and opinions in order to find/create the next clue.

The plot unravels. This mystery, this divine conspiracy, grows larger and more inclusive as you explore it. It becomes increasingly obvious that everyone and everything is involved. Eventually, you realize that you are an integral part of the mystery. You are the Great Mystery.

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Marcus Amerman
photo credit: Dana Waldon