Lanise Luna

Lanise Luna is a proud member of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and Mexican heritage, draws inspiration from her diverse background and the connection between the environment and animals. Specializing in drawing, painting, and traditional beading, she is a multi-talented artist who loves to explore different techniques and designs.

Her artistic journey began at a young age, but it was not until quarantine that she truly honed her artistic skills. Currently, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) with the goal of becoming a Marine Biologist.

Luna's artwork not only masterfully captures the beauty and significance of ocean animals, but also the intricate details of these creatures, and pays homage to them in a way that evokes a sense of reverence and awe. Through her art, Luna sheds light on animals that are often overlooked or dismissed, reminding us of the interconnectedness of all living beings and the importance of preserving our natural world.

Beyond her paintings, Luna showcases her creativity through her beadwork. She creates unique pieces of jewelry, such as beaded eyelash curlers and earrings, and enjoys adding beadwork to her paintings. She also enjoys Indigenizing Barbies, giving them a personal touch and renaming them to names in her Cupeño language.

With an unwavering commitment to her craft, Luna remains steadfast in her artistic pursuits. She will continue to create passionately, whether with the stroke of her brush or the poke of her needle.

IVDM is excited to have Luna’s Memet on display as part of our Native Voices | Native Truths: A Contemporary Experience.

You can find Luna on Instagram @nesee_14, @craftsbynesee, and on Etsy at

Memet (ocean), 2023

acrylic on canvas

11 in x 14 in

As a child, I was always drawn to the ocean, mesmerized by the ebb and flow of the waves and the promise of uncharted territories beyond the horizon. The rhythmic cadence of the waves was a soothing balm for my restless mind, lulling me into a state of deep contemplation. With each crash and flow of the water, I felt my worries and anxieties melt away like sandcastles in the tide.

For my latest painting, I chose to depict a Hammerhead shark, a creature often feared by humans but vital to the ecosystem. These majestic creatures help regulate the carbon dioxide levels in the ocean, making it a healthier environment for all marine life. And while the Hammerhead shark may be intimidating, it is also a creature to be admired for its strength and resilience.

To add a touch of beauty to my painting, I decided to incorporate coral reefs on top of the shark's fin. These delicate ecosystems are home to over 400 unique species of marine life, from tiny seahorses to majestic sea turtles. Coral reefs also play a crucial role in supporting fisheries, providing a haven for fish populations to thrive.

Together, the Hammerhead shark and the coral reefs represent the intricate balance of life in the ocean, a reminder of the beauty and complexity beneath the surface of the waves.