Brent Learned is a Native American artist from Oklahoma who draws, paints, and sculpts the Native American Indian in a contemporary impressionistic style. The paintings included in this exhibit, titled Life Before Statehood, depict striking figures of the American Plains Indian with Learned's recognizable use of bold, vibrant colors.
As an enrolled member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Learned appreciates the heritage and culture of the American Plains Indian. "I create artwork to capture the essence, accuracy and historic authenticity of the American Plains Indian way of life," says the artist.
Learned is an award winning and collected artist who was born and reared in Oklahoma City. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts.
Learned's work resides in museums such as the Smithsonian Institute-National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., the Cheyenne/Arapaho Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and the University of Kansas Art Museum in Lawrence, Kansas. He has work in private collections such as the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City, the Haskell Indian University in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Kerr Foundation Private Collection in Oklahoma City. Learned also has the honor of having one of his paintings displayed in the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Learned has a passion for being active in the community. He was one of the curators of the Winter Camp exhibit at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The Winter Camp exhibit was geared toward giving new artists in the community an opportunity to show their work and was the first all Native American show to feature contemporary Oklahoma Native American art. Learned has also worked with glass artist Dale Chihuly's team on the Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Tower (Chihuly's tallest installation to date) that resides in the Oklahoma City Art Museum.
Commissioned artwork has been a growing part of Learned's career in recent years. He was commissioned to paint the art for the poster in the Native American Heritage Celebration in Oklahoma City in November 2005. He was commissioned by the Association of American Indian Physicians in 2004 for their annual meeting poster. Red Earth in Oklahoma City has twice commissioned Learned for his artwork. The first time was in 1997 for the Red Earth Festival T-shirt and the second commission was in 2003 for the Moccasins and Cleats Event in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City Public Schools commissioned him in 2001 to assist with the Future Artist Mural of Sequoia. He was also commissioned in 1998 to paint the art used on the Lawrence Indian Art Market Poster.
Newspapers such as The Oklahoman, Santa Fe Reporter, Indianapolis Hoosier, Anadarko News, and the Lawrence Journal World have written articles about Learned's art. His work has also been featured in magazines such as the Native People Magazine, KU Alumni Magazine, Persimmon Hill Magazine, Nichols Hill Living, National Indian Gaming Magazine and Kiosk Magazine. Learned currently resides in Oklahoma City.