Cartoonist Marty Two Bulls has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Marty Two Bulls Wins Journalism Award for ICTMN Cartoons

ICTMN Staff
4/10/12

Marty Two Bulls, editorial cartoonist for Indian Country Today Media Network, has won a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his work in the category "Editorial Cartooning (Newspaper Circulation 1-100,000, Regional Magazine, Non-Daily Publication or Online Independent)."

Two Bulls, Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge, is a talented artist with a deep connection to his people and his past who is studying for a bachelor of fine arts degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. "My father is Rev. Robert Two Bulls and my Grand father was Peter Two Bulls Sr.," he says. "I hail from the Red Shirt Table area of our reservation. Our enemies call us the Sioux." One of his great strengths as an observer and humorist is his ability to treat issues all over Indian country -- the five cartoons that won him the award, all of which appear on this page, address Diane Sawyer's visit to Two Bulls' own home reservation as well as the death of woodcarver John T. Williams, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Award winning cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

Two Bulls has enjoyed a long career in the commercial design sector in television, print technologies, daily newspapers and new media, serving as graphic editor for two daily newspapers, the Rapid City Journal and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. He resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where in addition to creating cartoons for this publication he is finishing a degree in art. He also tends to his professional website, m2bulls.com, which just re-launched today.

On the occasion of this great professional honor, Two Bulls took a few moments out of his busy schedule to tell us a little more about himself.

When and how did you first start creating art?

As long as I can remember, I have always created art in some form or medium. I had won a citywide art contest when I was ten years old. I had sold my first painting when I was twelve.

Award winning cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

What are the mediums you've worked in during your artistic development, and how did you come to cartooning?

I have had the opportunity to work in all the art mediums. I want my work to be seen by as many people as possible and mass-produced publishing seems like a good vehicle for that purpose. So I did some editorial cartoons for my high school newspaper, Rapid City Central high school’s Pine Needle, from 1979 to 1981. I had to take a journalism class to do this so I went along with anything to get published. I never would have thought, back then, that newspapers would become such a big part of my career.

You're currently pursuing a degree in art, correct?

I will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio arts.

What is the nature of the work you're creating?

Award winning cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

My area of study includes all the mediums available to me from sterling silver to ancient cedar. I have been doing a number of paintings for my senior art show on a loose series of themes, but based on an overriding theme of traditionalism. This project uses traditional designs and modern materials to say, basically, that we as Native peoples are an ancient race caught up in a modern society, a world we have little or no control over, a world that puts our future in question. The answer to a lot of our questions lies in our past and is something that we left behind. The only real way to find it is to retrace our steps. It is my hope that this generation will find the answer to their questions along this path of rediscovery and pave the way for the future members of out Native Nation.

Who are your favorite cartoonists? Whose work do you find inspiring?

The late Wally Wood and John Severin were probably the greatest influence on my work. As a kid growing up Wood and Severin’s work was published in comic books, so there was a ready supply of it available to me even with my modest means. Of course I studied the great masters, but I still gravitated to fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta and Richard Corben.

Award winning cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

What do you have to be mindful of when you're drawing cartoons for a specialized audience -- in this case American Indians?

I don’t really. I am who I am and this is the way I am. I guess it is sort of a Popeye philosophy on life. But really I’m Native and my humor follows suit.

And are there advantages for you in that your readership shares a certain viewpoint?

Well, I don’t have to explain a lot of things … I just try to point out flaws.

Are there some subjects that are off-limits for you as a cartoonist?

Objectifying women. I believe that women are equal and that the failing of the dominant culture was to subjugate their women. This control that the men had over their society also gave birth to their greed and eventual warfare.

Do you have a favorite cartoon of your own, or a favorite topic you've covered?

Award winning cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

I was once asked if I had a favorite color ... I said I love them all.

What's next for you — after you get your degree do you have any projects in mind? Any professional goals you haven't realized yet?

I worked in daily newspapers for thirteen years as a graphics editor and after my children grew up my wife (of 28 years) and I decided to return to college to finish our degrees. So with graduation it seems I’m at a crossroads in my career. If the opportunity arose I could be persuaded to return to newspapers. Or maybe I'd go on to grad school and afterward teach on a college level. I’ve been a professional artist for 29 years and I will probably die with a brush in my hands, so that will never change. I’m currently doing a couple of pages for a comic book and dabbling in the jewelry business.

I’m writing a graphic novel and plan on starting the art production soon. But I need to keep a regular income flowing in to support my earthly needs.

Marty Two Bulls

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Comments

valeriewinslow's picture
valeriewinslow
Submitted by valeriewinslow on
in my area of the world, there was a man who attended most of the powwows out here and he would pass out your cartoons to people as the came in. This man has passed on to the Spirit World but I still have your cartoons. Thank you for all your great work and your ability to find humor in some not so funny situations. Please keep sharing. Sometimes people just need a good laugh!

m2bulls's picture
m2bulls
Submitted by m2bulls on
Thank you. What a great story and an honor to have such a fan of my work.

jencootsvaldez's picture
jencootsvaldez
Submitted by jencootsvaldez on
Congrats Marty! It is an great honor to be the recipient of a prestigious award - I'm really happy for you. Keep up the good work!

Donna Barr
Donna Barr
Submitted by Donna Barr on
Just discovered your work. You're funny and fabulous, and extremely sharp. Thank you! Oh - and Custer was a blond. :D
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