Douglas Miles (b. 1963)

Douglas Miles

Douglas Miles was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and currently lives on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.  In addition to being a painter, Miles is also a poet and an actor.  Working mainly in ink, colored pencil and acrylic, he is known for his contemporary Apache depictions.  Influenced by the simple lines of Japanese animation art and wood block prints, Doug has applied it to his work.  Miles is one of a few nationally recognized Apache artists.

With themes that cover tradition as well as modernity, Miles focuses mostly on Apache warriors, dancers and musicians.  The warrior is an important image in Apache history and Miles believes that their greatness is not completely realized by our country and at times forgotten, even amongst the Apache. Through these images, he hopes to instill not only a sense of pride and empowerment, but to reignite that same leadership, strength and endurance exhibited by the remarkable Apache warriors.  Since youth typically respond to art that they can relate to, Miles sometimes adds the names of important chiefs and warriors to his work – as graffiti.  The graffiti element has accorded him an effective tool in his community outreach efforts.  He developed Apache Skateboards, a program designed to support the athleticism of skateboarding that emulates the strength, endurance and tenacity of warriors.  Since its original inception, the program has expanded beyond athleticism to include the arts, education, political awareness and empowerment.    

Miles’ images musicians and dancers are a reflection of his love of music.  He studies album cover art and movie posters since they have an immediate impact on the viewer, also one of his goals.  He showcases the significance of music in Apache culture through song, instrument, dance and color.   

Doug also likes to portray youth in today’s garb. “It’s young men and women coming of age, looking for a place and identity in the world.”  And his large scale, outdoor murals depicting a regional community’s identity or his continuing empowerment message of American Indians have proliferated beyond Arizona.   

Douglas Miles’ work can be found in museums and private collections worldwide.

Douglas Miles