March 20, 2012

Apacheria: The Art of Douglas Miles

Apacheria: The Art of Douglas Miles" Opens Tonight at Por Vida Gallery

By Benjamin LeathermanWhen most folks pass through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation they likely see nothing but its blight, squalor, and the harsh living conditions of the desolate landscape. Artist Douglas Miles, however, sees nothing but inspiration for his work.

That includes all of his most recent ink on paper drawings and stencil work creations, all of which is included in his exhibition "Apacheria," which opens tonight at Por Vida Gallery on 16th Street.

Miles has spent most of his life on the vastly rural San Carlos reservation, which is located 100 miles northeast of Phoenix near the mining town of Globe. And he's spent the last 25 years creating a vast body of work that reflects and the hardships of "rez life" while celebrating its culture. The 48-year-old's oeuvre crosses into multiple mediums, ranging from his cartoon-like ink sketches on paper and canvas to the decorated decks of Apache Skateboards, the company he helped launch in 2002.

"What I've been doing with my work is to make a definite reflection of the hardness of what its like to live in a rural Native American community in the 21st century," Miles says. "There's so many stereotypes when it comes to cliché Native American imagery and I've been creating something that challenges and changes those perceptions. There are very beautiful things about our culture, but there's also a very harsh side that some people don't see because of the rose-colored glasses of any romantic notions they might have about Indians."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Women Skateboarders in Apache Chronicle and All About Apache Skateboards.

Below:  "Douglas Miles with his work at Por Vida Gallery."

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