Denise L. Emerson

Tribe: Skokomish / Navajo
Based In: Seattle, WA
Social Media: @dineskok

About the Artist

I was born in Shelton, Washington eldest daughter of Bertha Allen who was an enrolled Twana (Skokomish) Tribal Member and Danny Emerson, Sr. who was an enrolled Diné (Navajo) Tribal Member from Sanostee, New Mexico. Bertha and Danny met when attending Chemawa Indian Boarding School in Salem, Oregon. After graduating from the boarding school, they married and raised their five children in Seattle, Washington. During my childhood I watched my parents be creative in different ways. My father oil painted and sketched while my mother sewed and beaded during her free time. I believe I inherited both of my parent’s artistic talents and skills. As I watched them in awe creating with their own hands, I wanted to be like them. My sketchbook went with me everywhere including when I visited my aunt on the Skokomish reservation. I sketched during the drive to and from the reservation, and whenever my creative energy pushed me to draw. During my teenage years I began painting with acrylics, beading, and sewing, expanding my artistic talents, and later studied graphic design at UW to bring design training to my work. Now I use Excel to design every piece with the family esthetic in heart and mind.