TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:
- Matthew Bearden is painting non-Native figures on football helmets to offer a new perspective on the debate.
- Bearden says he wants people to think about others’ perspective.
- He says he is not taking sides on the issue.
A Tulsa artist is making waves with his latest project.
Matthew Bearden is putting a different take on the debate centered on Native Americans being used as team mascots.
"I always felt bad for my mother and her side of the family, because some of it is demeaning, some of it, some of it's not bad," Bearden said.
Bearden has been painting popular, non-Native figures, such as the Pope, Patrick Swayze and even a white devil, to give people a new perspective on the debate.
He says he is not taking sides on the issue, but he definitely wants people to think about others’ perspectives in issues like this.
Bearden, who is part Native American, has also painted criticisms of Native Americans on the helmets as well.
He says he understands that some tribes actually support the use of their heritage as mascots.
Bearden has painted nine helmets so far, and he plans to do more.
"We all have a voice, and this is just my contribution to that," he said.