Richard Red Owl was born August 14, 1940 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Reared in a nurturing family, he has fond memories of drawing at an early age. Close relatives and school teachers always encouraged him in his artwork. A pivotal event in 1955 helped him realize he was onto something. As an 8th grader, Red Owl entered a watercolor painting in a country fair competition, winning a blue ribbon and a scholarship. He laughs when he recalls the joy of receiving the ribbon and his reluctance in accepting the scholarship. To accept meant his leaving Pine Ridge, which he confesses, would have made him homesick, thus he declined the scholarship.
Red Owl’s artistic expressions are self-taught. He prefers discovering for himself without formal instruction. On his own, Red Owl has studied and is inspired by Oscar Howe, Hobart Keith, and Charles Russell. Never one to find a comfort zone, Red Owl pushes himself by trying new media and various schools of discipline. He has experimented with realism, cubism, and most recently paper casting. Red Owl seems to paint for painting’s sake, and he enjoys what he is doing.
Modest by nature, Red Owl shies from the label of artistic mover and shaker. But in the late 1960’s, he helped the Oglala Sioux Artists Association. Through this organization, Red Owl and others promoted special art exhibits at the Public Health Service, Pine Ridge Hospital in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Red Owl confidently reflects on his future, “…it is a wide open field. I’m going to get in to more sculpture.” In typical Red Owl Fashion, he continues exploring.
Richard Red Owl lives at Kyle, S.D. and is one of the many Native American artists who are working and living on the reservation. He works out of Red Owl Gallery and Studio located at his home.
For more information on
group visits or special requests
contact Red Owl at