Bryan Waytula’s tools of the trade include pencil, paint and brush.
Cherokee artist Bryan Waytula uses circles in his contemporary pieces, which often focus on Native American subjects.
To say art is in Bryan Waytula’s blood is an understatement. Both his mother and his grandmother are master craftsmen in basketry and National Treasures of the Cherokee Nation.
Their talent lies in weaving, but Waytula’s crafts are painting and drawing. “I wasn’t the greatest at weaving, and jokingly my grandmother gave me a pencil and wanted to see what I could do with that,” he says, fondly recalling his family’s encouragement of the arts.
Waytula has created a unique and contemporary style of realism paintings that features shapes and bright colors. This eye-catching approach immediately identifies one of his paintings as a “Waytula.” His aesthetic has caught the eyes of many. Earlier this year, he applied to the famed Santa Fe Indian Market and was accepted on his first try, a nearly unheard-of feat. He exhibited there Aug. 19-20.
Waytula is a driven and determined artist but receives additional motivation from his wife, Linda; his 2-year-old son, Bryson; and his students at Metro Christian Academy, where he is an art teacher. “My students push me the same way I push them,” he says. Waytula’s students emboldened him to step outside of his comfort zone by helping him create an Instagram page (@waytulajit) to show off his work.
You can see Waytula’s work in person at this month’s Cherokee Art Market, where he will feature his work alongside his favorite artist: his mother, Vivian Cottrell. Waytula’s work also can be viewed at bryanwaytula.com.
Cherokee Art Market
10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. Sequoyah Convention Center, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa, 777 W. Cherokee St., Catoosa. Features artwork from 150 elite Native American artists, representing 50 tribes from across the U.S. $5, adults; free, children under 12. Visit cherokeeartmarket.com.