Born in Rosebud, South Dakota, Martin Red Bear is Oglala and Sicangu Lakota. He attended elementary and high school at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, SD, then attended the Rocky Mountain School of the Arts, Cody, WY, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM receiving an Associate of Fine Arts. He received his Bachelor’s in Visual Arts from the College of Santa Fe, and his Master’s degree in Art Education from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. He is retired from teaching art and humanities at Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, South Dakota.
Red Bear works in acrylics and watercolor on canvas, paper, and tanned hides. He combines the pictographic or hide painting style of his ancestors with contemporary painting techniques and materials. He feels his work encompasses his American Indian culture and values.
He has lectured extensively on various aspects of American Indian art, both traditional and contemporary.
Red Bear’s works are on display in colleges, museums, and private collections across the country.