Born in New Jersey in 1935, Douglas Allen's interest in art started at a young age and was encouraged by his father, who would take him to visit museums and art dealers on weekends. Eventually, Allen took classes at the Ford Art School in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, and lessons from Paul Branson. In high school, Allen spent time sketching animals at the Bronx Zoo, and wildlife remains a focus of his artwork. In the late 1950s, Allen illustrated a series in Outdoor Life magazine titled "Big Game Animals of North America," written by Jack O'Connor and George Goodwin. For this project, Allen created twenty oils of animals and eighty pen-and-ink drawings. The series ran for twenty months and was published as a book in 1961.
June 12, 2009 — 57 minutes — video
Born in California in 1940 and a resident of Washington, Tony Angell focuses his art on wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Of particular interest to Angell is the raven, which is the subject of books he has written. Angell is self-taught, and has said much of his artistic growth has come from trial and error, and many lessons learned from mentors, both living and deceased. He began his career in the 1960s as a painter, and later pursued sculpture. Angell studies and recreates from the diversity of animals of the North Pacific. He has worked with a number of materials, though stone has always been his first choice.
June 22, 2009 — 2 hours 5 minutes — video
Born in Wisconsin, Gerald Balciar’s knowledge and interest in wildlife is shown throughout his work. Balciar has done numerous sculptures, including a 20' bronze moose Centennial in Mooseheart, Illinois, and an 18', 16,000-pound white marble carving of a cougar titled Canyon Princess, which was unveiled at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in June 1995. Balciar devised a point up system that revolutionized the traditional enlargement process. He has taught at the Scottsdale Artists’ School, the Art Students League of Denver, the Loveland Academy of Fine Arts, and several adult art education programs. Balciar's River Companions, a lovely marble sculpture, won the Prix de West Award in 1985 from the National Academy of Western Art. The sculpture stands today in the luscious gardens beside the Museum.
June 8, 2001 — 52 minutes — audio
October 21, 2002 — 1 hour 34 minutes — video
Kenneth Bunn's interest in animals began at an early age, and he was even an apprentice at the National History Museum in Washington, D.C., to build on his knowledge of animals and the way they are presented. Bunn shifted his interest to creating bronze sculptures, and has traveled extensively to study animals and their movement. Of particular interest to Bunn are members of the cat family, which has led to many trips to African game parks.
June 12, 2004 — 1 hour 4 minutes — audio
Born in Illinois, George Carlson has studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, the Chicago Art Institute, and the University of Arizona. American Indian culture is of particular interest to Carlson, especially the Tarahumara Indians of Central Mexico. During a National Academy of Western Art Exhibition, Carlson won the Prix de West Award in 1975 for his bronze sculpture Courtship Flight. After switching to oil painting, Carlson won the 2011 Prix de West Purchase Award for Umatilla Rock.
June 11, 2005 — 1 hour 7 minutes — audio
June 25, 2009 — 3 hours 7 minutes — video
YouTube: 10-minute video clip
Keith Christie's interest in art started at a young age—Christie began carving sculptures from ordinary materials as young as age six. He continued this hobby until 1972, when Wells Fargo purchased 12 bronze stage coaches that measured 5' 6" long, and helped turn his hobby into a career. In addition to his sculptures which are detailed and realistic, Christie also paints.
June 14, 2008 — 1 hour 3 minutes — video
Although he grew up amidst the surfing culture of California, John Coleman possessed a fascination for western movies and lifestyle. This spurred his interests in art and history, leading to self-taught illustration before turning to a career in fine art. Coleman is most known for his Southwest Indian figure work. Coleman appreciates art that tells a story that is deeper than what can be seen on the surface. Coleman has been a member of the Cowboy Artists of America since 2001.
June 25, 2012 — 20 minutes — video
YouTube: 1:40-minute video clip: Coleman describes the importance of the "insecurity factor" in showing new pieces.
Fraughton, Edward James
Edward J. Fraughton's career has come a long way, starting with drawings on paper bags to creating sculptures on display all over the country. Fraughton received formal training under Dr. Avard T. Fairbanks and his son Justin while completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Fraughton was a founding member of the National Academy of Western Art.
June 9, 2001 — 1 hour 7 minutes — audio
August 25, 2004 — 2 hours 8 minutes — video
After graduating from Colorado College and studying at the Art Students League in New York City, Glenna Goodacre became a successful artist focusing on painting portraits. However, it was after creating a six inch bronze of her daughter that her interest changed to sculpture. Goodacre is passionate about depicting expression through her sculptures, which is easily seen in her work. Her work can be found all over the United States, including the US Sacagawea Dollar, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., and After the Ride, a bronze sculpture of Ronald Reagan that is at both the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
July 26, 2006 — 1 hour 50 minutes — video
YouTube: 10-minute video clip
Having been raised in the western life in Texas, Greene uses the cowboy theme throughout his paintings and sculptures. Having settled down on a 1870s farmstead on the Old Chisholm Trail, he paints the Hereford cattle, work horses, and ranch life into his work. He has worked on the old JA Ranch in the Palo Duro Canyon, staying with the chuck wagon, working with the calves, and building kinship with other cowboys. He has been a member of the Cowboy Artists of America since 1993.
June 9, 2012 — 20 minutes — video
YouTube: 1:40-minute video clip: Greene tells the story behind Storm on the Plains, one of his sculptures for the 2012 CAA Exhibition.
Greeves, Richard V.
Deriving a strong background of artistic craftsmanship from his Italian heritage, Richard Greeves portrays through sculpture the character and spiritual essence of the people and animals of his chosen homeland, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. His mission in any sculpture is to tell a story, to communicate what he holds important. Self-taught as an artist, he first painted historic documentary-style scenes of Indian life, but he later turned to sculpture. Although he frequently uses Indian subject matter, he also depicts the trapper, trader, and cowboy of bygone eras.
June 7, 2002 — 1 hour 1 minute — audio
Holden, Harold T.
Harold T. Holden’s love of the West and its culture can be attributed to the influence of his father, who was a passionate horseman. This, coupled with the encouragement of Holden’s grandfather, George E. Failing, to pursue a career in fine art, have laid the foundation for Holden’s career as a sculptor and painter. He has more than twenty public works of art across Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. Among those is the seven-foot sculpture of Edward L. Gaylord that greets the visitors to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
June 10, 2005 — 1 hour 4 minutes — audio
March 5, 2008 — 1 hour 46 minutes — video
YouTube: 10-minute video clip
Doug Hyde has been a Prix de West artist for nearly twenty years. His heritage is composed of Nez Perce, Assiniboine, and Chippewa tribes. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1960s. After completing two tours of duty in Vietnam, Hyde returned to Institute of American Indian Arts as a faculty member from 1972-1974, where his passion for art and creating fine art began.
June 9, 2006 — 1 hour 5 minutes — audio
May 9, 2007 — 2 hours 6 minutes — video
Raised in southern New Mexico, Steve Kestrel grew up around horses with a family that raised American Quarter Horses. He would go on to train horses and work cattle on ranches during his college years. He studied natural sciences at Eastern New Mexico University and sculpture at Colorado State University. As a fine artist, Kestrel typically creates glimpses of nature captured in bronze sculpture.
June 13, 2008 — 1 hour 4 minutes — video
As a young boy, Mehl Lawson began drawing and sculpting horses from pictures he saw in magazines and books. His interest in horses steadily grew, and as a young man, Lawson became a horse trainer and breeder. Inspired by Tom Ryan’s painting, Sharing an Apple, Lawson decided that his true passion was art and decided to pursue a career as an artist. Lawson is also a member of the Cowboy Artists of America.
June 12, 2009 — 58 minutes — video
Ross Matteson is a sculptor who commonly works with a wide variety of materials including: bronze, stone, steel, and glass. A prolific sculptor, Matteson’s work can be seen in fifteen different countries worldwide, in site-specific locations. In his sculptures, Matteson frequently uses wildlife subjects to explore philosophical themes. He has been a Prix de West artist for twenty years.
June 22, 2009 — 2 hours 8 minutes — video
Nebeker has been a member of the Cowboy Artists of America since 1978, from which he has won many awards for his sculptures. He has spent much of his life in Arizona where he worked with and watched his working cowboy father on the ranch. He began to imagine how to bring the ranching world to life in bronze sculptures. Early in his art career Nebeker became a protégé of the George Phippen family, starting off working in the foundry.
June 9, 2012 — 25 minutes — video
YouTube: 1-minute video clip: Nebeker explains where his inspiration comes from for his cowboy sculptures.
Bill Owen’s father was a cowboy, his mother was an artist, and it was those early influences that shaped his professional career as an artist. Owen, a self-taught artist, continues to develop his craft by working hard and observing other artists. Although he is blind in his right eye, the result of surviving a rodeo accident in 1989, he has overcome the limitations caused by the loss of depth perception. Owen gets his inspiration from his Arizona surroundings for his paintings and sculptures. He also is a member of the Cowboy Artists of America.
June 9, 2001 — 1 hour 5 minutes — audio
Sandy Scott studied fine art at the Kansas City Art Institute, in Missouri, and worked as a background animation artist for Calvin Motion Pictures. In the 1970s, she began creating etchings and printmaking, eventually shifting her creative focus to sculpting in the 1980s. The subjects of Scott’s sculptures are primarily representations of birds, wild animals, and domestic animals.
June 11, 2005 — 59 minutes — audio
June 9, 2012 — 2 hours — video
Tim Shinabarger became fascinated with wildlife and the wilderness at a young age. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in business from Eastern Montana College, where he also took art classes. He continued his artistic development by attending numerous workshops and drawing wild animals and scenes of wildlife constantly. The inspiration behind Shinabarger’s sculptures is derived from his own personal adventures observing nature in the wilderness.
June 8, 2007 — 1 hour 6 minutes — audio
Smith, Shirley Thomson
As a child, Shirley Thomson Smith had dreams of becoming a fashion designer until she fell in love with sculpting during her time studying art at the University of Oklahoma. She moved to Durango, Colorado, where she met many Navajo women and was instantly inspired by their strength and unity. Her sculptures convey a deep sense of emotion and strength through their soft edges.
June 11, 2004 — 48 minutes — audio
March 6, 2008 — 1 hour 8 minutes — video
Kent Ullberg’s journey as an artist began in the seaside town of Gothenburg, Sweden. He often accompanied his father, a seaman and a landscape artist, on his painting trips. The experiences sparked a lifelong commitment to the environment, wildlife, and his interest in art. Ullberg studied at the Swedish Konstfack School of Art in Stockholm. While there he supported himself doing taxidermy, anatomical sculpture, and skeleton cleaning. He then worked as a curator at the Botswana Museum and Art Gallery for seven years until he moved to Denver in 1974. He is known for his realistic depictions of animals from around the world. In 1998, Ullberg's bronze sculpture Ocean's Cradle won the Prix de West Purchase Award.
June 12, 2003 — 1 hour 7 minutes — audio
Williford, Hollis Randall
Born in North Central Texas, Hollis Williford’s introduction to sculpture came at an early age. His grandfather enjoyed whittling and encouraged Williford to participate. They often sat around a wood pile and carved animal shapes. After graduating high school, he studied at the University of Texas at Arlington and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art with a minor in English. After graduating he worked as a graphic artist for the aerospace industry in the Dallas area. A few years later he enrolled at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. He supported himself as a free-lance illustrator for three years before moving to Denver in 1982 to work as a gallery supported artist. In 1980, Williford won the Prix de West Award from the National Academy of Western Art for his bronze sculpture, The Snake Priest, and again in 1988 for Welcome Sundown, which graces the front entrance of the Museum.
September 15, 2007 — 31 minutes — video