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Guy LaBree - The Barefoot Artist

Guy LaBree

The rural southwest Florida town of Arcadia has a hidden treasure a few miles from the Peace River. Nestled among the pines, palmettos and oak trees lives an exceptional artist, Guy

For the past 30 years he has produced oil paintings which allow people to glimpse, through visual means, the history, legends and mythology of the Seminole Indians, Few white men are privy to the information LaBree has received from tribal members over the past five decades. Alan Jumper, a childhood friend from the reservation, encouraged him to paint the Seminole lifestyle. He was invited by Judybill Osceola, the manager of the arts and crafts store on the Hollywood, FL Reservation to offer his paintings there; the first white man to have that opportunity.

Guy LaBree

Guy's first art patron was James Billie, an alligator wrestler who was subsequently elected tribal chairman of the Florida Seminoles. He added more than 3 dozen paintings to his collection during his 5 terms In office. He also sponsored LaBree's first one-man art show and, more Importantly, introduced him to the tribe's elders, medicine men and storytellers. This enabled Guy to interview them over the years.

To ensure accuracy, LaBree's many Seminole friends gave him insight and approval when requested. Chairman Mitchell Cypress and President Moses Osceola have collections of LaBree's work.

Guy LaBree grew up in Florida in the 1940's and 50's, where Seminoles lived at the Hollywood Reservation in thatched roof chickees and dressed in unique, colorful patchwork decorated clothing. He and his native schoolmates exchanged cultural information, which continues to this day,

According to James Billie, "Guy LaBree is probably as much a Seminole as anyone around here. Other artists never get the feeling for Seminoles that Guy captures." Through his empathetic nature, he recreates the Seminole warrior, medicine man, mother or child. His creative ability allows him to understand other dimensions formed by the myths in the unconscious mind of others.

By way of his brush come awe inspiring, sense arousing, dramatic scenes on canvas.

The fine arts critic; Ellen Kovan wrote, "The rich culture and ancient ways of the Seminole Tribe spring to life under LaBree's careful brush strokes. He researches and cross references all the details in the finely tuned oils. It is this integrity that imbues the work with a sense of realism that deeply touches the viewer. The visual impact of LaBree's work can't be overstated. Since he began painting, LaBree has created a body of work that will remain a testimony to a populace which made an indelible mark on Florida history. His work serves as a lasting tribute to them."

Pat and Guy LaBree

LaBree entered his first sidewalk art show in 1973 in Australia, Ten years later, he began his full time painting career back In the USA, when he and his wife, Pat, moved to Arcadia.

Self-taught through private studies, he has enhanced the originality and content of his work to a master's level. Two New York art curators from the Whitney and Metropolitan Museums recognized
LaBree's talent and chose his work to be displayed in juried shows. In June, 1994, he was one of a few select living artists to have a 3 month exhibit at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. The highlight of Guy's career was to be entrusted with Seminole medicine man Sonny Billie's vision that was part of the grand opening display of the Seminole Tribe exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in 2004.


Guy Labree Time Coded Raw from VTM Productions, Inc on Vimeo.

You CAN view this video by clicking and WATCH on VIMEO

This is Mr. Guy Labree last interview. Unfortunately he passed away about a month ago. His wife and himself invited my friend Luis Pacheco and I to shot a interview in his house. Mr. Labree talks about his wonderful life he had as a painter and about his friendship with the Seminole Indians.
May he RIP.

Guy LaBree

For information or to order artwork,
please call (863-494-4207), or write

Guy Labree
P.O. Box 2463
Arcadia, Florida 34265

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