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Chickasaw Artist Featured At Historic Paseo Art Festival
by Gene Lehmann, Media Relations - Chickasaw Times
Brian Landreth mixes native, modern forms
Chickasaw artist Brian Landreth autographs a 41st Annual Paseo Arts District Festival poster, which he created. Mr. Landreth is involved in many styles of art. He plans to bring his Native American collection to shows at Paseo and Tishomingo in October.

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Chickasaw artist's vision of the famed Paseo Arts District has been selected the official poster for the 41st festival.

Brian Landreth's digital creation harkens back to the 1960s. The historic housing district north of downtown Oklahoma City was enjoying a rebirth. An eclectic population of artists influenced by the freewheeling 1960s filled Paseo.

Mr. Landreth's graphics-generated design features a tree of musical instruments, painters' palates, musical notes, a starry sky and the unmistakable pink and taupe buildings lining the streets of the Paseo Arts District.

The Paseo Art Festival is hosted every Memorial weekend. Paseo is between NW 30th and Walker Avenue and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The hub of the district has arguably been Cantina del Paseo, a longtime watering hole known as the "Picasso on Paseo."

Mr. Landreth's inspiration is a tree that has thrived near the cantina for decades.

Born Late
At 56, even Mr. Landreth notes with a chuckle he was born "probably a little late" to have enjoyed the full impact of what Paseo was in the beginning. He does, however, soak in "what it has become."

The first arts festival was in 1976 when Oklahoma City fathers were debating whether the district should undergo urban renewal.

"I am walking between two entirely different art worlds," Mr. Landreth acknowledged.

There isn't much Native art displayed at Paseo, but that will change in October when Mr. Landreth takes part in a month-long show.

He intends to load his submissions with art depicting Native American culture, traditions and history.

"Because of my Native American background, I decided when I started working on pieces for the show, Natives would be depicted accurately and the art would reflect the trueness of Native life," he said.

Mr. Landreth's training is as a graphic artist. He is versed in advertising campaigns, computer-generated graphics and still works a four-day week with Dale Rogers Training Center, a nonprofit organization. It is the oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma.

"I asked to go to a four-day week to spend more time with my art," he said. "It is such a pleasure to work with people eager to accommodate desires of employees and take pride in their goals. I decided to stop teaching a few years ago so I could dedicate myself to the creative elements of my job and also to my personal artistic pursuits."

Busy, Busy, Busy
Most artists will tell you commissioned work is the "bread and butter" of success.

It is true for Mr. Landreth. He understood in high school it was possible to be an artist and make a decent living doing it. He recently finished a commission of three paintings for the Pharmacy Board of Oklahoma.

"They wanted to show medics in World War II, Vietnam and Desert Storm," he said.

Another commission for Drumright Dental Center could likely turn into a kids' coloring booklet.

Steeped in his Chickasaw identity, Mr. Landreth is fully engaged with the Chickasaw Nation. His father, Dewey, whose mother, Hannah, was an original enrollee, received allotted land near Ringling, Okla.

"We were exposed to our heritage at an early age," Mr. Landreth said. "We went to stomp dances and pow wows. We were always in touch with our heritage," he said of the family. "We had a home full of Chickasaw memorabilia."

Mr. Landreth has maintained ties to the Chickasaw Nation, particularly since graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma.

"Back in 1988-89, I embraced my heritage again," he said. "At that time, I was still an unwilling participant in the day-to-day rat race, but took time to be active in the culture of my heritage."

He has shown works at Red Earth, the most prominent Native American art show in Oklahoma. He just finished showing works at the Fourth Annual Artesian Arts Festival in Sulphur, Okla. The festival, hosted by the Chickasaw Nation, set records with crowd size and artist participation.

The Chickasaw Nation embraced him, too, exhibiting his works at Exhibit C, an Oklahoma City Bricktown gallery, and in several welcome centers located within Chickasaw Nation boundaries.

In addition to Paseo in October, Mr. Landreth will take part in the Southeastern Art Show and Market (SEASAM), a juried exhibition featuring Southeastern tribes' artists. It is the Chickasaw Nation's top show during Annual Meeting and Chickasaw Festival in October in Tishomingo, Okla.

Revisiting Childhood
The artist has had some ideas that have been on the back burner for a long time. One of those ideas is a Native American superhero, a cartoon character he envisioned years ago.

"I drew the superhero about a thousand years ago, but I have some new ideas and I'm going to dust it off," he observed with a laugh. "Ever since I was 21, ideas would hit me and I've always saved them. Some of those ideas are 33 years old.

"In college, I was doing cartooning and illustration. That is what I loved to work on. Back in 1972 Oklahoma, I was teaching myself how to draw comic books because there weren't any classes. I think those years pushed me toward focusing on art. I was interviewed by the Charles Schultz group (of "Peanuts" fame). I didn't get accepted but I have 20 old pieces of studio art."

He entered the world of advertising. At the time, it was much more hands-on artistry. He also began to paint. He freelanced his cartooning skills to other agencies. Mr. Landreth is a fan of acrylic art. It dries faster than oil and the colors are vibrant.

"I love dominate colors; colors that just come off the board at you, he said.

"This year has gone extremely well and I need to strike while the iron is hot. I am working to get my website updated to offer my artwork, which I believe will lead to some more commissions."

The website address is or the artist may be reached via email at

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