Depp’s Tonto Inspiration and a small update on MamaTess!

Well, I have not been able to reach DR.E due to some emergencies but the other DRs on the ward have told me that Mama Tess continues to be stable – not much change.

Of course, I want to know exactly every nuance of difference… but I will have to wait because DR E is not available to write his usual update missives.

I do, however, have the photos I took of her the day I left for Wyoming.  I visited her and took these shots.


Here she is, rattling the chain to her haynet so that some one will FEED HER!


The fan was blowing her mane as she decided to come over to me… I was sitting in the corner of her stall.


Hey, whatcha doin’ down there? Could you get up and get me some food, please?


I know that most of you have not see the LONE RANGER movie – I haven’t either.  However, I want to see it…

Anyway, while I was searching through last month’s issue of COWBOYS AND INDIANS magazine (trying to catch up…) I saw an article about the inspiration for Johnny Depps’ interpretation of Tonto.

Did you know the idea for his Tonto came from a modern day acrylic on linen painting by Kirby Sattler?  Me, neither…

Here is the article from Cowboys and Indians.  Click here to view the original article.

Johnny Depp's version of Tonto...

Johnny Depp’s version of Tonto…


“I’d actually seen a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler and looked at the face of this warrior and thought, That’s it,” Depp told “The stripes down the face and across the eyes … it seemed to me like you could almost see the separate sections of the individual. …”
In that “cross-section of the Native man’s emotional life,” Depp said he saw a wise quarter, a very tortured and hurt section, an angry and rageful section, and a very understanding and unique side. “I saw these parts, almost like dissecting a brain, these slivers of the individual.”
The makeup inspired him, as did the crow in the painting, which Depp would appropriate as a headdress. “It just so happened Sattler had painted a bird flying directly behind the warrior’s head. It looked to me like it was sitting on top,” Depp told “I thought, Tonto’s got a bird on his head. It’s his spirit guide in a way. It’s dead to others, but it’s not dead to him. It’s very much alive.”
We talked to artist Kirby Sattler about his artistic inspirations, the story behind I Am Crow, and what he thinks about Johnny Depp’s interpretation.

The inspiration... a modern day portrait by artist, Kirby Sattler

The inspiration… a modern day portrait by artist, Kirby Sattler

The article from C&I goes on to interview Kirby himself…

C&I: How did you get the idea for I Am Crow, the painting that inspired Johnny Depp’s take on Tonto?
Sattler: I have an affinity for crows. They have provided me an often-used source of inspiration for my work. As with all my paintings, I Am Crow began as the interpretation of the relationship between nature and indigenous man.
C&I: When and in what medium did you paint it?
Sattler: I Am Crow was completed in 2006. I paint with acrylics on linen canvas.
C&I: Is the painting based on something and/or someone in history?
Sattler: The painting is not of a factual person. My paintings are variations of the same theme, examining the inseparable relationship between the nomadic tribes of the American Plains and their natural world. Each painting functions on the premise that all natural phenomena have souls independent of their physical beings. Under such a belief, the wearing of sacred objects was a source of spiritual power. Any object — a stone, a plait of sweet grass, a part of an animal, the wing of a bird — could contain the essence of the metaphysical qualities identified with the objects and desired by the Native American. I attempt to give the viewer of my work a sense of what these sacred objects meant to the wearer; more than just aesthetic adornment, it was an outward manifestation of a transference of identity. In the end, how the work is to be interpreted is left to the viewer’s unique sensibilities.
C&I: How did you feel when you heard that your painting was Johnny Depp’s inspiration for his Tonto look for The Lone Ranger?
Sattler: I have been a fan of his film characterizations … a bigger one now. And of course that fact that I Am Crow inspired him has exposed the painting to a broader audience.
C&I: He said he saw something in the eyes of the warrior and in the face divided by lines. …
Sattler: His words in regards to my painting were very insightful.
C&I: What do you think of I Am Crow as channeled by Johnny Depp? Did you have any input?
Sattler: I did not speak with Johnny Depp; our conversations were with the production team of the film. With the film’s design team he came up with a memorable image. The final look of his character is astounding.
C&I: What does the title I Am Crow mean?
Sattler: I Am Crow — a man taking on the metaphysical traits attributed to the crow.
C&I: In your painting, the crow seems not to be affixed to the warrior’s head but seems to be flying behind. If the bird is in a sense a spirit guide or spirit animal, what does it signify?
Sattler: Whether the crow is affixed to the warrior’s head or flying behind is a choice of personal perception. Birds were powerful spiritual companions to the People; they provided a conduit to the unseen forces of the universe that predominated their lives.
C&I: You are not Native, but you have a deep interest in and respect for the Plains Indians. What kinds of research have you found most productive in learning about American Indians for your art?
Sattler: Native American-inspired portraits remain the subject I paint most. To sate this interest I spent endless hours in libraries and visiting museums, traveling the West to learn of the great diversity of the Plains Indian culture. The visuals of collected historical artifacts have always been the driving force. The association of man living with nature contributed to developing a theme to my paintings.
C&I: Do you plan to see the movie?
Sattler: Yes, most definitely. We will make the long drive to the big city when the movie reaches the theaters. We wouldn’t miss an opportunity to witness a 30-foot high image of Johnny Depp in I Am Crow-inspired costume!

Side by side...

Side by side…


I know that many of you are following the Wyoming Adventure… So here is a pic of Sky that I took today.

Here he is, with his sunburned face... tied during our lunch today.

Here he is, with his sunburned face… tied during our lunch today.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


Humbly I ask for help with my mare, Mama Tess, as our August Bucket Fund recipient.  Click here to read her story and/or to donate

Humbly I ask for help with my mare, Mama Tess, as our August Bucket Fund recipient. Click here to read her story and/or to donate

Your purchase with Riding Warehouse via this portal benefits the Bucket Fund!  Click here.

Your purchase with Riding Warehouse via this portal benefits the Bucket Fund! Click here.





HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

3 comments have been posted...

  1. Delrene Sims

    Whoops, meant Mama Tess/ my dog’s name is Tessa and I haven’t had my morning coffee!!!!
    Happy Trails

  2. Delrene Sims

    Do NOT listen to the critics. The Lone Ranger was an amazing movie. Johnny Depp and everything about it was just terrific. The four horses that played Silver, the thoroughbred, a warmblood, a quarterhorse and I have now forgotten the 4th horse. Also forgot where I read the article about all of them, but the thoroughbred came from a facility in Canada where they specifically breed for white. And your trip, is my dream. I called them yesterday and will book as soon as she said after january, ( after all those that have been before are taken care of). What a nice woman I spoke with and I mentioned I followed your blog. I am enjoying it so much. We will be in Jackson Hole area next week. I had called to ask her if they booked day trips for people not staying at the ranch. Nope, but gave me the name of another stable. Hope Tessa changes for the better or at least no change while you are away.
    Cannot wait to be a part of this gorgeous scenery if only for a week.

  3. Terri Springer

    Loved the Lone Ranger and Depp’s Tonto.
    Enjoying your trip to WY – it is spectacularly beautiful there – filing the name of that ranch!
    I had a horse who would get sunburned – “Water Babies” sunscreen helped a lot – it was wateproof so stayed on pretty well.
    Best of luck with Mama Tess!
    SO enjoy your daily posts -thanks

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