Sometimes we find Native American totems in art. I was recently drawn to the art of Kirby Sattler when Johnny Depp stated that he got his idea for his portrayal of Tonto in the new Lone Ranger Movie from the artwork of Mr. Sattler. I would like to share something about Kirby Sattler and his Native American Art with you today.

The very first thing that came to my mind when I visited his website was his use of totems in most, if not all, of the paintings. Sometimes it is a subtle representation of the totem that most guides the subject of the painting and other times it is obvious which animal spirit gives meaning to the person depicted.

Standing I Fly

The image above is one that Kirby Sattler gave me permission to use in this post as an example of his work. In this painting we see a subtle representation of the totem that guides this wonderful man in his journey on the good red road. Notice the bird symbols on each side of his shirt? I would imagine that they represent Crow as Mr. Sattler uses crow a lot in his paintings. Although they could be Ravens or even a Thunderbird.

I love the detail that is found in each and every painting of Kirby Sattler! The weathered look of the skin, the sometimes soulful eyes, and the use of face paint. We have talked before about the importance of the paint and what it told about the person to his family and members of his tribe. Mr. Sattler gets it.

Kirby Sattler does not have any roots with a specific tribal tradition nor does he claim any tribal connection with the subjects that he paints. He uses his imagination and long time interest in Native Americans to create his remarkable work. Here’s the thing, he understands the metaphysical connection and importance of the animal spirits that guide us on our own journeys and makes that a part of his art.

I remember reading a comment when Disney first released a picture of Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in character for the movie. Someone indignantly made the comment that “no self-respecting Native” would dress like that. Well, maybe not today, but I believe that our ancestors would have. And most of the paintings or photographs that we have as reference today were done by non-Natives who did not see the importance of a totem animal in the daily life of the First Americans so they were left out. Kirby Sattler understands it and incorporates it in his work. Each image that I looked at on his website touched me spiritually and I believe they will you, too.

It is my sincere wish that you will visit Kirby Sattler on his website of fine art. I know you will not be dissapointed! I would also like to thank him publicly for so graciously allowing me to use one of his images here on my blog.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

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