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Craig Thomas Marks
2023 Fellowship Award Recipient

Craig Thomas Marks is an internationally exhibited fine artist and Pikuni (Blackfeet) descendant currently residing on the beautiful Florida Suncoast with his wife and six children.

An admitted “art school dropout,” he spent less than a year at Kendall College of Art and Design before he left. Largely self-taught, he has been blessed to have developed strong friendships with internationally acclaimed artists with whom he has learned techniques firsthand. Craig is known largely for his contemporary ledger art as well as a monochromatic painting style that integrates strategic use of color.

While his work is not exclusively Native American in nature, Blackfeet cultural influence is evident throughout his portfolio. He has close relationships within the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) where he has gained recognition as a ledger artist.

“As an artist I am, first and foremost, a storyteller,” he says. “Storytelling is critically important. Our individual and shared stories create our identities as people, our family identity, our identity as a community, and as a culture. Some storytellers use words and others use music. As a visual artist I get to tell stories with colors, light, and composition.”

Craig believes that art should be used to evoke emotion, to recreate dreams and memories, and to teach. The titles of many of his works are intentionally in the Blackfeet language. The intent is to push nonnative viewers to ask questions which initiate conversations that help dismantle the harmful stereotypes Native Americans still face in the 21st Century, as well as bringing awareness to challenges existing in Indian Country today. Craig’s role as Artist in Residence for the Dreamcatcher Foundation allowed him to further use his work to support indigenous communities through the “Peace Love Art Indigenous Collective” in 2022.

“Art helped me to process and heal after the death of my daughter. I have used art to unlock doors that had been previously closed to me. My craft has built relationships with community leaders, the film and television industry, the music industry, and most importantly my family and community. Art has given much to me and I want to share that with others.”