Bison Art in the Digital Age: Celebrating the Untamed Spirit of North America


The mighty Bison, often referred to as the buffalo, has long been an enduring cultural symbol and has deeply influenced artistic creation across the North American continent and the world.

Double Trouble - Two Bison / Buffalo Art Print

The significance of Bison in North American art

For centuries, the Bison has held a central place in North American history, playing a pivotal role in both the daily lives and spiritual feelings of  the indigenous peoples; as well as being a massive economic driver for new settlers to the American West in the 19th Century. So, it's no wonder that the Bison consistently appears as a prominent theme in North American art.

This mighty beast bridges the gap between human society and the untamed wilderness, embodying strength, resilience, and free spirit. It resonates with the ethos of the continent, encapsulating the spirit of the untamed frontier and rugged individualism. Not only that, the Bison featured heavily in many Native American cultures as what is known as a "culture hero" and a crucial provider, with every part of the Bison utilised for survival.

The Bison continues to stand as a potent symbol, adorning currencies and official seals, the embodiment of the American spirit, and one of the most iconic mammals of the United States.

Bison Art - Bright Blue Bison

The influence of digital technology on Bison art

Digital technology has had a profound impact on visual arts, including the centuries-old tradition of Bison Art. Today, artists can capture the majestic form of the Bison through digital photography and re-imagine them through digital painting and image manipulation tools. This fusion of tradition and technology makes for unique, awe-inspiring pieces that capture the essence of the North American spirit in a contemporary form.

In this age of rapidly evolving digital technology, Bison Art has seen a resurgence. Artists utilise state-of-the-art software to create innovative renditions of this iconic creature. Through technologies such as 3D modeling, augmented reality, and even virtual reality, artists can now create pieces that let the viewers interact with and view the Bison in ways that weren't possible before.

All in all, the blend of Bison's cultural significance and the innovation of digital art has given us a unique form of expression that both pays homage to the roots of North American history and explores the frontier of modern artistic expression. And as technology continues to evolve, there's no telling how Bison Art might transform next.


You can find a great selection of Bison Art Prints here:

Traditional Bison Art

Art and culture are powerful interwoven forces that reflect the perceptions, values, and identities of societies. Among the indigenous tribes of North America, one of the most revered and represented symbols in art is the bison.

Historical depictions of Bison in art

Ever since the dawn of civilization, bison have been a frequent subject in art due to their magnificent physical stature, undeniable strength, and immense cultural significance. From the mysterious cave paintings at Lascaux , that date back to 15,000-13,000 BC and portray vivid images of bison along with horses, elk, lions, and even a rhinoceros, bison have been celebrated in art for their untamed spirit and grandeur.

In Native American art, bison are acknowledged for more than their impressive physical attributes; they represent a deep-rooted cultural connection with wilderness and nature. As the American Indian artist Richard Pohrts aptly demonstrated in his art depicting nearly forty tribes from nine different culture areas, each tribe utilized flag imagery to portray its unique perception and relationship with the bison.

Bison Art - Bright Pink Bison

Traditional artistic techniques used in Bison art

Traditional Bison Art encompasses a wide array of techniques and styles, including:

  • Ledger Art: This art form traces its origins back to the Plains Indians who used ledger paper to record stories or events, often including images of bison in battle or hunt scenes.

  • Ribbon Skirts: Worn by Native American women, these skirts often feature intricate bison designs that tell stories or convey messages.

  • Paper Collage: Contemporary artists like Dolan Geiman have employed this technique to create modern interpretations of the bison by layering different pieces of rescued materials and paper cutouts.

  • Modern Bison Art: Artists like Stuart Brown have brought the Bison into the digital age with colourful portrayals and depictions of this mighty animal that pay homage to its majesty, but lightly enjoy the spectacle of one of natures giants shown in a setting that wouldn't seem out of place in an Andy Warhol painting.

Though digital art is becoming increasingly popular in our tech-driven world, the charm and depth of traditional Bison art remains undefeated. Its timeless appeal lies in its ability to evoke strong emotions, tell compelling stories, and capture the untamed spirit and unyielding resilience of the indigenous tribes that revere Bison as a symbol of their cultural identity. Despite the rapid spread of digitization, the roots of Bison Art remain deeply entrenched in tradition, echoing the enduring link between man and nature. 

Bison Art Print - Bright Red Bison
Contemporary Bison Art

Let's explore the exciting world of contemporary bison art, where traditional aesthetics meet technology, giving life to extraordinary compositions.

The evolution of Bison art in the digital age

In the digital age, artists have continued to honor the historic and cultural significance of the bison in their work. Nowadays, bison artwork not only showcases the animal's raw, untamed beauty but also tells stories of resilience, survival, and wisdom inherent in the American Bison, or American Buffalo as it is also frequently called.

These pieces beautifully amalgamate past and present, where the bison represent historical perseverance as well as present-day conservation success.

In a similar vein, various digital prints shops and platforms have featured a variety of Bison art, ranging from realistic digital paintings to stylized graphic designs, engaging with audiences in a whole new way.

This shows that even a subject that can at first appear to be the very epitome of tradition can transcend its roots and find new relevance in the modern age.

Bright Yellow Bison Art Print

Digital mediums and tools used in creating Bison art

Digital art has significantly transformed the creative process. Artists can now use digital platforms and tools to paint, draw, and design stunning bison art, leading to unprecedented levels of detailing and precision. Some common digital art tools used in creating bison art include:

  • Adobe Photoshop : Photoshop is one of the most popular digital art tools. It allows for a wide array of creative options such as drawing, coloring, and adding effects. Artists can recreate lifelike textures and liberally experiment with color palettes, something seen in various Bison digital portraits.

  • Procreate for iPad : For artists who prefer a more hands-on approach, Procreate provides a tactile drawing and painting experience. Bison designs on this platform often have a more natural and raw sketch quality.

  • 3D Modeling Software : Contemporary artists also use 3D modeling tools to create interactive bison artwork. These often serve educational purposes, allowing users to fully observe and appreciate bison anatomy and physiology.

Using digital mediums, artists have successfully reignited a cultural affinity for the American Bison, silently reminding us of bygone times while pushing the boundaries of creative expression.

Whether it’s through a detailed digital painting that perfectly captures the strength in a Bison’s eye or an abstract graphic design that interprets its majestic grace through geometrical forms, Bison art continues to evolve and inspire, echoing the unbeaten survival spirit of these majestic creatures. 

Celebrating the Untamed Spirit

Creativity and culture collide perfectly in Bison-themed art, a trend on the rise in the digital age. Encompassing both traditional and modern forms,  Bison art celebrates the untamed spirit of North America.

Themes and motifs in Bison art

Drawing inspiration from an act of nature in South Dakota's Custer State Park , artists are portraying the Bison in various artistic forms, immortalizing the grandeur of these magnificent creatures. From the now-famous incident of a male Bison charging a woman to iconic representations of the Bison in several mediums, Bison art is an intriguing study in creativity.

Some artists have even added a layer of surrealism to their pieces. 

Such as for example this 'Bison Stuck in Traffic' art print by Stuart Brown, that uniquely places a herd of Bison on the back of a track during a traffic jam on the streets of the UK!

Bison Stuck in Traffic

Key motifs in Bison art include:

  • The untamed  Bison in action, representing power and force of nature
  • Depictions of Bison with cultural elements like ribbon skirts and faux tooled leather
  • Use of modern digital tools to bring the traditional Bison imagery alive
  • Inclusion of a humorous element, such as the now-viral image of jeans hanging from a Bison

The symbolic meaning of Bison in North American culture

The Bison is a powerful symbol in North American culture, particularly in Native American lore . Representing endurance, strength, and manifesting desires, Bison often signifies the need to stand strong amid the forces of life.

Notably, the white Bison is a powerful spiritual symbol, signifying the importance of living a thankful, harmonious life. Its symbolism entails:

  • Abundance and prosperity
  • Gratitude and joy
  • Relationship with one’s higher self
  • Community and family orientation
  • Honouring the sacred in all aspects of life

This deep symbolism is often reflected in Bison art, from traditional paintings to modern digital iterations - a constant reminder of the earth’s might, the potential of the human spirit, and the sacred connection between all beings.

As we move forward in this digital era, Bison art continues to grow in popularity, highlighting the importance of reverence and respect for nature - a powerful echo of the enduring spirit of North America. Delving deeply into the world of Bison art is a fascinating journey into a blend of culture, meaning, history, and contemporary creativity.

Four Colour Buffalo / Bison Art Print

Bison Art in Popular Culture

In popular culture, Bison have continued to inspire a wide array of art forms in the digital era. From films, literature to music, the representation of bison exudes strength, resilience, and a deeply ingrained sense of American identity.

Bison art in films, music, and literature

Films that revolve around the theme of nature and wilderness often feature bison as potent symbols. These magnificent beasts are often showcased with sweeping cinematography that captures their raw power and intrinsic connection to the landscape. A great example is the 2016 film "The Revenant," where a scene depicting a herd of bison in the wild conveys a strong sense of the untamed spirit of America.

In music , bison are frequently referenced in the songs of Native American tribes for whom this animal is a sacred, central figure. The powerful bison beats on the Nez Perce tribal drum mark the rhythm of many traditional songs and dances, passing down history and culture through generations.

In literature , the buffalo is a recurring motif in Native American folklore and in the works of many contemporary authors. For instance, in the "The Buffalo and the Mouse," a traditional Plains Indian tale, the bison plays a significant role in teaching valuable life lessons.

The enduring appeal of Bison as a cultural icon

The appeal of the bison as a symbol extends far beyond traditional art and into digital spaces. For example, the viral "Bison Art Attack" movement highlighted the popularity of bison as a theme in modern Native art.

This movement was sparked by an incident in South Dakota’s Custer State Park, where a bison flung a woman's jeans around its horn. This fascinating event caught on social media, inspiring numerous artists to create works around this theme, be it through traditional ledger drawings, ribbon skirts, or digital illustrations.

Bison are not just part of popular culture but a key piece of American identity. They symbolize strength, resilience, and the untamed spirit of the land, elements that resonate deeply with people who identify with the spirit of independence that bison represent.

Here's the breakdown of how the bison appears across various media:

  • Film: Used as a potent symbol in wilderness-themed films
  • Music: Central to traditional Native American music
  • Literature: A recurring motif in folklore and contemporary writing
  • Digital art: Inspiring modern art movements like the "Bison Art Attack"

So, be it on the silver screen, in verse and prose, over the rhythmic beats of music, or in the innovative sphere of digital art, the bison continues to endure as an iconic symbol, turning heads and capturing imaginations for centuries past and, undoubtedly, for generations to come. 


The enduring beauty and significance of Bison art in the digital age

The American Bison, a totemic symbol of strength, resilience, and the untamed spirit of North America, has captured the imagination of artists since the Neolithic age. The impression left by this formidable mammal has endured through the ages, finding representation in various forms of art. It is the iconic symbol of the American West and an important cultural representation for American Indian tribes. The digital age has breathed fresh life into Bison art, providing versatile platforms for artists to express, collaborate, and share their works with an international audience.

In conclusion, the digital age has amplified the beauty and significance of Bison art, celebrating the essence of the American West, its history, and its captivating wildlife. This union of ancient symbolism and modern technology ensures that the inspirational appeal of Bison art extends into the future, while remaining an enduring piece of our shared human history.

 Check out our collection of Bison Art Prints here.

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