The Totems of Lebo: Owls and Cats

Lebo art owl Park West Gallery

A Light Shines Through” (2013), Lebo

Have you ever discovered that something you enjoy or admire is also loved by your favorite celebrity, musician or artist? That may be the case if you’re a fan of owls, cats and David “Lebo” Le Batard.

The subjects of Lebo’s artwork can vary depending on the message or symbolism he wishes to portray, but his owl and cat characters, or “totems” as he sometimes calls them, have become staples in his art as well as his charitable causes.

“What I’ve learned to do is treat those as my own cartoon characters, my own ‘Peanuts’ or my own ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ and those evolve and change through the paintings,” he says.

 

Owls

Lebo art owl Park West Gallery

“When We Reach the Other Side” (2015, Lebo

Lebo has featured owls in his artwork for the past decade. Growing up, Lebo first encountered the birds in the form of burrowing owls found in the neighborhood of his home. Upon further study, he realized the significance of owls in cultures throughout history, such as the bird representing the Greek goddess Athena and her city, Athens.

“It resonated with me, it resonated in ancient history, and people really seem to like it,” he says. “The nice thing about them is that as my work evolves I find that they can evolve along with it. So they don’t have to stay the same.”

Lebo art owl Park West Gallery

Every Once In Awhile” (2013), Lebo

The reputation of owls has evolved over time. While some cultures viewed owls as bad luck or a harbinger of death, others saw them as symbols of wisdom. Lebo says he likes to convey messages of hopefulness in his art, but also likes to allude to something beyond ourselves.

“They sort of become a vehicle for something otherworldly, and it seems to resonate with people and touch people, and that’s a nice thing because it does it for me too,” he says.

 

Cats

Lebo art cat Park West Gallery

“Pointing Towards Wisdom” (2015), Lebo

Like owls, cats make appearances throughout Lebo’s art. He says he grew up with one, but didn’t start involving them in his art until he started studying the style and art of Pablo Picasso. He says once the famous artist began with cubism, his artwork became cartoon-like and aesthetically graphic, which appealed to Lebo.

“I was looking in a retrospective catalog of his work and he had two pages of cats that he did,” he says. “I decided to really try to exhibit in my own small way the things I have learned from his work, and I started it through cats.”

Lebo art cat Park West Gallery

Grand Unified Theory” (2013), Lebo

Cats were sacred animals in Egypt, while many ancient religions considered them to be exalted companions and guides for humans. Various cultures claim the myth that cats have many lives, an idea relating to their reflexes and ability to land on their feet.

 

Supporting the care of animals

Lebo art cats Park West Gallery

Thanksgiving Morning” (2013), Lebo

Lebo’s totems have been instrumental in his support of non-profit organizations. Much of Lebo’s charity work focuses on animals rights, such as a no-kill animal shelter in Miami or the Animal Recovery Mission, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating operations that cruelly abuse animals.

Lebo has even worked with Giving a Hoot, a sanctuary located in Florida that aids injured birds, especially owls. Lebo gives a portion of the proceeds from avian-related artwork to this wildlife sanctuary.

“One of the balances that I like to keep, especially since I’ve been able to make a living through my craft for so long is giving back and supporting different things beyond art that I believe in,” he says.

Lebo’s artwork is featured during Park West Gallery’s “The Art of Invention” exhibition, which runs from Sept. 20 to Oct. 18 at the gallery’s Southfield, Michigan location.

2 Responses to The Totems of Lebo: Owls and Cats

  1. Ray says:

    As an owl collector, once I saw Lebo’s artwork, I was immediately drawn to his work. I have purchased “Once in a While” and “Free to Fly” to add to my collection. Besides other pieces of Lebo’s artwork. Looking forward to new pieces from his evolving art collection.

  2. Lady Lingren says:

    I love, love, love LEBO’s art … wild about his themes.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • 5 Tips on How to Overcome Creative Block From Professional Artists

    Creative block can strike at any time, stifling your inspiration and grinding your productivity to a halt. It’s something anyone who has tackled a creative project has experienced at one ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with England’s Clare Sykes

    Clare Sykes knows a thing or two about beauty.This astoundingly accomplished English artist is an expert when it comes to capturing the majesty of the natural world on canvas. ...
    Read More
  • These 12 Works of Art Will Help You Beat the Summer Heat

    Let’s face it, as much as we all yearned for warmer weather during this past winter and spring, this summer has been a hot one.If you feel as if ...
    Read More
  • Pablo Picasso: How One Spanish Artist Changed Art Forever [VIDEO]

      Why does everyone know ...
    Read More
  • Beating the Odds: Foster Care Support Programs Are Helping Youth Succeed at College

    Antwinae McNeil didn’t have a typical upbringing. Whereas most teens hang out with their friends or enjoying family meals, Antwinae worried if she would have a place to call home.At ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga

    Over and over again, Park West collectors have told us that one of the highlights of their collecting experience is the lasting friendships they develop with our art auctioneers and ...
    Read More
  • Stairway to Heaven: Fascinating New Salvador Dalí Exhibition Begins U.S. Tour

    Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but there are far more aspects to the artist’s career than just his notoriously mind-bending paintings.This ...
    Read More
  • Celebrate Independence Day with Our Summer Sale Americana Art

    In the United States, the Fourth of July stirs up patriotism in everyone. Regardless of your background or beliefs, Independence Day is a time for the country to come together ...
    Read More
  • Park West Recruiter Wins Big on ‘The Price is Right’

    Park West Gallery Recruiter Neil Nussbaum and his wife, Hannah, have always been huge fans of “The Price is Right.”When they first met, they bonded over their shared love ...
    Read More
  • Jerusalem Post Profiles ‘Icon’ Yaacov Agam for His 90th Birthday

    “There are only a few words that accurately describe Yaacov Agam,” says Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione. “‘Innovator’, ‘genius’, and, yes, ‘icon.’ The man is definitely ...
    Read More
  • New Michael Godard Sale Features More Than 30 Unique Works

    As the “Rock Star of the Art World,” Michael Godard borrows a page from his musical counterparts by searching for new and innovative ways to express himself.“I’ve always admired ...
    Read More
  • Saving Lady Liberty: How Peter Max Helped Restore the Statue of Liberty

    Iconic Pop artist Peter Max has several recurring images that he’s returned to throughout his prolific career, but perhaps none are more famous than the Statue of Liberty. Max ...
    Read More