What I have seen, lived and painted is only a chapter in the saga called the West. What we used to call the future is now the past.
It is called the “good old days,” where there were no cowboys riding horseback with a cellphone, wind farms, gooseneck trailers or crew cab pickups! In the “good old days,” the cowboys still dragged calves to the fire.
I began painting so long ago that I can hardly remember when I first started. I’m 78 years old, and I had my first art show in the second grade; I remember using crayons and pencils. By the age of 12, I was selling paintings.
Don’t get me started on the Old West versus the contemporary West. The West is in constant change. The West that I portray is different than the Old West or the West of today.
I got my passion for the West by visiting the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I saw original works of art by Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington. I was equally impressed that they had recorded the West in their lifetime as I was with their art. I knew there was a West with cowboys all around me. I wanted to paint the contemporary cowboy in the West where I lived—in my own time
Working from photographs is permissible for artists as long as they are used as a tool, not a crutch.
Historical accuracy is as important as originality and artistic interpretation. A work of Western art must be accurate. I never saw a working cowboy’s hat that didn’t have sweat and dust stains, or leggings that didn’t have wear marks from him working hard.
History has taught me patience!
The worst part about being in the fine art business is insecurity. An artist never knows when he is going to sell a piece of art or if what he is creating will appeal to the collector.
I learned everything I know about the West by living in it.
The best Western for my money is the Lonesome Dove miniseries; many of the situations portrayed are based on American History.
New Mexico gives me inspiration, with great light and variety.
During my years at Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I designed the high school yearbook, letterhead and mascot symbol, which the high school still uses today!
The best part of being an artist is being free to pursue my dreams.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I made a mistake!
The last place you’ll ever find me is greeting the public in a Walmart store.
GORDON SNIDOW, ARTIST