Buffy describes herself as a mult-media artist. She is a visual artist as well as a musician. According to her, she has been painting and drawing as long as she has been making music, starting in her pre-school years. She is just as innovative in the visual arts as she is in music. The public saw her abilities in the graphics when her Songbook was published with her beautiful hand illustrations all through the book. Buffy also did the cover illustrations for her albums Changing Woman and Sweet America.
In the mid-1980’s Buffy Sainte-Marie was one of the first to get a Macintosh Computer. As a natural continuation of her pioneering in electronic music in the 1960’s, she began making digital paintings with her computer. Her final pieces were printed out in large formats, some a big as 5 by 7 feet. She was one of the very first artists to show digital paintings in galleries and museums.
Buffy Sainte-Marie’s work contains images from ancient traditions expressed in digital pixels. Her images, like her music, express a broad range of human experience. Some images are about Native American issues. Other works are about nature, and some are on a very personal level, expressed in self portraits. One of her most striking works is a self portrait where colorful digital pixels on her face become face paint. It is all at once an expression of herself as a unique individual, an expression of the universal aboriginal experience and of the universal human experience.
In an interview with APTN National News host Cheryl McKenzie, Buffy talks about her art, how it relates to her music and the rest of her life. She shares how she is a firm believer that each person is creative and she strongly supports everyone to explore expressing themselves creatively.