source: buffysainte-marie.com
'Self-Portrait,' by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Ilfordchrome (Cibachrome) photograph. 33" x 45.5." Description from buffysainte-marie.com: 'A photo was imported into my computer and I played with it. It is a headshot where I was wearing a lightweight veil; black hair, blackened background; and streaks of very interesting computer colors in some feathers.' Source: buffysainte-marie.com

Singer, Activist, Digital Artist: Another Side of Buffy Sainte-Marie

David P. Ball
4/16/14

Buffy Sainte-Marie is well known as a musician and activist, but there's a third side to her that isn't as well known -- Buffy the digital visual artist. She began creating in 1984, with programs such as Mac Paint, and her work has evolved with the technology. Today her images can be seen is in the permanent collections of the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, First Nations University, and the Tucson Art Museum, and she is represented by Gurevich Fine Art. To learn more about her visual works, visit buffysainte-marie.com.

You're not easily categorized, whether we're talking about genres of music -- your last album included rock, pure folk ballads and some digital music -- or whole creative disciplines. You're a serious musician and a serious visual artist. What's the vision?

There isn't a vision. That's just how life really is. It's only school that separates from English from Math from History from Literature. That's false. What life is really about is everything. I just never got talked into doing it unnaturally. From my very first album, I've always written about all the different things I think are wonderful.

RELATED: Up Where She Belongs: Buffy Sainte-Marie Making First Album in 6 Years

'Yaqui From the Wings,' by Buffy Sainte-Marie. 49 x 67 inches. Source: buffysainte-marie.com

'Neon Hula,' by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Ilfordchrome (Cibachrome) photograph. 49" x 67 inches. Description from buffysainte-marie.com: 'Three dancers in a dream, their bodies outlined in neon.' Source: buffysainte-marie.com

How did you get into digital visual art?

I guess the same way that a little kid, the first time they see finger paints and paper, it feels exactly the same. It was so new – there was no such thing as 'digital art.' The words had not been invented until many years after I had been putting digital paintings into museums. My works are the first large-scale digital paintings to appear in museums and galleries. But even at that time they weren't new – it took a long time before galleries and museums were unafraid to understand what contemporary artists were doing. They were afraid of it. They didn't know -- If it's "digital," is it still real? They thought the computer made it. We only wish the computer made it; it doesn't. It's exactly the same as my other styles of painting in a wet studio. You do have to wait for the paint to dry, but otherwise digital art is the same. You're still working with color, line, choices, contrast, rhythm, repetition – it's still an art, it's just an art with a different tool.

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