Marilyn Artus explores the female experience within her art making practice. Marilyn has also been a curator, commercial artist, burlesque promoter, event planner and female artist mentor. She has created shows that explore the suffragist era in the U.S., paid tribute to an assortment of women in American history and most recently been using the American flag as a vehicle for feminist exploration.
Marilyn grew up in Norman and Tulsa, Oklahoma. She spent two years of college at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. She then returned to Oklahoma and finished her bachelor of fine arts in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma. She worked for 13 years in the gift industry designing products and packaging for United Design Corporation and Relevant Products for manufacturing worldwide. In 2008, Marilyn became a full-time visual artist.
Some of the highlights of Marilyn's art career so far have been Solo and group shows in Oklahoma and Washington, the first to receive the annual Brady Craft Alliance Award for Innovation in fiber arts in 2011 and in 2010 led an art making workshop at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in association with the retrospective exhibit 'Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968. She was selected to exhibit in the premier exhibit of “Elevate” on the guest room floor elevator lobbies at the 21c Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City. She also exhibited a body of work at the Gaylord Pickens Museum in 2017.
Her first solo exhibition, " Our Lady of the Anti-Personnel Weapon & Her Stepford Friends" at AKA Gallery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma garnered local and national attention. The exhibit included 9 life size collage images of the Virgin Mary holding various hand embroidered weapons with vintage ads behind the images of Mary. The exhibit also included the "Stepford" series of collage & embroidery pieces that were composed of pin-up queens with religious and anatomical imagery.
Marilyn was one of the founders of The Girlie Show, a 2-day, annual all female art, music and craft festival in Oklahoma City that was founded in 2003. The Girlie Show drew artisans from all over the United States to exhibit, celebrate, encourage and showcase female talent. As well as exhibit and promote creativity, the organization awarded a deserving female art or design student a $1,000 scholarship each year. After 10 years of producing The Girlie Show, the founders decided it was time to end the event in 2013.
The Girlie Show founders, Erin Merryweather, Dawn Tyler Harth & Marilyn Artus were awarded the "Great Inspirations" award in 2008 by Creative Oklahoma, Inc. (CO) a statewide non-profit organization that promotes and catalyzes creative idea generation in individuals and institutions. This award recognizes individuals that create Oklahomans' creative endeavors, solutions or activities as both a stimulus and an example for other corporations, organizations, communities or educational institutions.
Marilyn is also the founder of the Oklahoma City branch of Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, a cabaret life drawing class that was established in New York City in 2005, by illustrator and former artist's model Molly Crabapple and illustrator A.V. Phibes. Marilyn opened her branch of the international franchise in January 2009. As of January 2010, Dr. Sketchy's branches exist in over 100 cities around the world. Branches vary in their conservatism, nudity levels and the skill of their artists.