Studio Sunday Online: Teri Greeves: NDN Art


About the Artwork

NDN Art is a response to two questions that have presented themselves many times throughout Teri’s career: “What is Indian Art?” and “Do you consider yourself a Native artist or an artist?” She challenges this line of thinking by creating a beautifully beaded artwork using the stereotypical imagery of a figure wearing a warbonnet with the word “ART” in capital letters in a speech bubble. (A stereotype is something that is widely believed about a group of people, even if it’s not true or oversimplifies who they are.) By creating NDN Art, Teri is challenging and subverting these questions. NDN Art is inspired by 1960’s Pop Art artist Roy Lichtenstein’s oil painting ART. ( ART was a response to questions artists at the time were asking themselves like, What is art? What does it mean? Are you making art? Teri is also asking these questions, but from the Native artist’s perspective. She also challenges the need to define and limit Native Art. Some questions the artist asks herself through this artwork: 

  • Do I consider myself a Native artist or an artist or both? 
  • Am I a stereotype? For example, [American] Indian art that shows only historical representations of [American] Indians? 
  • Is this only craft? 
  • Am I traditional? 
  • Am I traditionally beading? 

About the Artist

Teri Greeves is a Kiowa beadwork artist who lives in Santa Fe, NM. She is part of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Teri’s work is guided by Kiowa traditions of beadwork. It is about a modernized way to tell the story of the American Indian while also considering historical content. “I am a beadworker,” Teri says. “I started beading when I was about 8 years old. I feel a need to express myself and my experience as a 21st Century Kiowa and I do it, like all those unknown artists before me, through beadwork. And though my medium may be considered “craft” or “traditional”, my stories are from the same source as the voice running through that first Kiowa beadworker’s needles, it is the voice that ran through my grandmother’s hands – it is the voice I first heard, as a young girl, at my mother’s side.,” ( 

Things to Think About 

  • What makes something a piece of art? 
  • What does it mean to the artist to be “traditional”? 
  • Why do you think it could be harmful to exclude Indigenous beadwork when we think of art? 
  • How is Terri Greeves making her work a part of the conversations (often called “discourse”) of art history? 
  • What non-traditional object would you like to bead on? 

Studio Activity

Inspired by Teri Greeves, create a mash up of an everyday object and an image to tell a story.

Teri Greeves designs and beads historical and contemporary stories on Converse sneakers. Inspired by Teri Greeves, create a mash up of an everyday object and an image to tell a story. Be sure to include colors, designs, and styles from your culture to make it your own. The story you chose could be a personal story, historical story, or cultural/global event. 


  • Paper 
  • Pencils 
  • Markers / pencil crayons. 
  • Scissors 
  • Optional: Access to computer or phone to find a reference photo. 
  • Optional: Converse shoe template 


  1. Think about your favorite everyday object and think about a story you would like to tell. Here are some examples of everyday objects.: Shoe, Old toy, Cup/ Mug/ Teacup, Phone, T-shirt, Hairbrush. If you want, you can use the included template of a shoe to draw on.
  2. Think about a story you would like to tell. It could be a personal story, historical/cultural/global event.
  3. Once you have your story decided, think about one part of it or one image that could capture that event.
  4. Draw out a simple design on paper of your everyday object.
  5. Draw inside your everyday object the story event image you have chosen.
  6. Color in the design using markers or pencil crayons, thinking about how your design could be created with beads. Pro Tip: Include pattern or layers of multiple colors or Analogous colors (3 Colors that are side by side on the color wheel).
  7. Once you are done, share your beadwork story with your family. Talk with them about the story you chose, what it means to you, and how you chose to represent it.