As a young boy Alvin Marshall was taken from his home on a Navajo reservation and placed in boarding schools where he was not permitted to speak the Navajo language or practice its traditions. By the age of ten he had lost both of his parents and it was his grandparents that taught him his Navajo culture which he hopes to pass on in his figurative sculpture.
Marshall served in the US Army where he did some work in illustration. After his service he moved to the Shiprock Reservation where he worked first as a diesel mechanic and later as an illustrator. At that time he began sculpting and would go on searches for stone with his friend, Oreland Joe.
For a short time he owned a gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona but not finding success it closed. He continued sculpting small pieces for a while but later dropped out of the art scene. Marshall eventually began carving again and has found success in galleries and at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.