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Kyle Landas is a Midwestern-based artist specializing in hand-carved, painted leather pieces. His work is featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and collected by celebrities and well-known corporations.

Landas’ artistic process began as a child.  “I have always been fascinated by the idea of creation and those who choose a different path,” Landas states.  This interest was fostered by his mother who painted whimsical pieces that portrayed human emotion in a simplistic manner.  “The subjects had no face but you could understand the emotion from the figures’ body language.”  Landas emulated this technique but his pieces took on a darker mood. “My work is much more obscure with darker undertones.”   Landas sites personal loss as a major influence in the tone of his work.


Other early influences include two high school art teachers who understood and fostered Landas’ vivid imagination and need to create.  “I always saw art as something that couldn’t be taught.”  Both teachers gave Landas full creative control over his projects and allowed him to pursue whatever medium caught his eye. “Once you realize there is no limitation to what you can achieve with your talents, you find happiness and true freedom,” Landas states.


Before pursuing his art full time, Landas worked as a bricklayer in Iowa.  Chronic pain from an illness lead to a decision to leave his job.  “I began painting at night while my family slept as a way to channel my pain and distress into something positive.”  Always fascinated with Waylon Jennings' leather bound guitar, Landas began creating leather items.  First crafting pieces using traditional western floral carving, Landas soon found that pattern restrictive and began creating his own designs.  “I’ve worked to have a trademark look that stands out in this dying art form.”

The road has not been easy.  “It has been a difficult task to take a conservative art form and give it new life,” Landas states. “The art-buying audience has lost interest in the art form because of the lack of creativity and I want to bring leather art back into the spotlight as a fine art not a craft.”


During a two year residency in the South, Landas found a natural market for his designs and his techniques in leather art began to take on many forms.  He developed concert posters from hand-tooled leather – one example hangs in the Country Music Hall of Fame.  His leather guitar straps and vests have been seen on stages around the globe, as well as red-carpet events and award shows.


Landas also creates multi-dimensional portraits of famous faces.  These pieces are sculpted from multiple layers of carved and formed leather set at different depths.  Painstakingly painted in Landas' own unique fashion and then finished off in a gallery ready shadowbox frame .  Samples of these portraits have been displayed in the Hank Williams Museum and featured on various national television spots.

Personal collectors of Landas’ work include Lee Brice, Marilyn Manson, Shooter Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Kid Rock, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Randy Houser, Justin Bieber and Billy Bob Thornton.  Corporate collectors include Jack Daniels, The USO, Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Southern Living Magazine, Leather Master, William Henry Knives and Red Rocks Amphitheater.


For Landas, his art has become a lifetime calling.  “I consider my art a gift and my second chance at happiness.  I will pursue it until I take my last breath.”

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