Emerging Artists | Kalwick, Larsen, Rich, Albrechtsen, Tongpaiboon, Namingha

By Margaret Brown, Kristin Bucher, Donna Tennant

William Kalwick Jr., Lady From San Idelfonso Ixtahuacan [1997], oil, 18 x 14., Southwest Art
William Kalwick Jr., Lady From San Idelfonso Ixtahuacan [1997], oil, 18 x 14.

William Kalwick Jr.
William Kalwick Jr., 37, has been around art and artists since he was a child. Born in New Jersey, he first studied painting with his father,
William Kalwick Sr., who was a member of the now-defunct National Academy of Western Art. After graduating from high school he continued his studies at the Art Students League in New York City.

In 1981, Kalwick moved to Houston, TX, to study with Hungarian-born painter Lajos Markos [SWA APR 75]. Markos was well-known in both Europe and the United States for his portraits, one of which hangs in the Vatican. Together the two artists made many trips to Europe, where Kalwick studied masterworks in person. “I began with a strong European influence,” he says,
“but now I see my style changing. I’m using vivid colors for contrast and diffuse lighting to create shadows.”

When Markos died in 1993, he insisted that Kalwick take over his studio. Surrounded by lush gardens, it’s a square room lit only by a north-facing skylight. In one corner Kalwick stows colorful costumes and props that he brings back from frequent trips to remote Mayan Indian villages in Guatemala. Painting the men, women, and children of these villages has become Kalwick’s consuming passion and proven to be one of his most popular subjects.

Of Lady From San Idelfonso Ixtahuacan, Kalwick says, “All of the women in the little village of San Idelfonso Ixtahuacan dress in a very traditional way, including cintas, or ribbons, like this woman is wearing in her hair. I painted her portrait last January when I visited the village during their annual fiesta.” —KB

Kalwick is represented by Wadle Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Vanier Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Wilcox Gallery, Jackson, WY; Taminah Gallery, Park City, UT; and Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, TX.

Ted Larsen, Looking Under Aspens, pastel, 23 x 29., Southwest Art
Ted Larsen, Looking Under Aspens, pastel, 23 x 29.

Ted Larsen
New Mexico painter Ted Larsen, 33, grew up in a house where making art was an everyday occurrence. The son of well-known painters Hal Larsen and Fran Larsen, Ted has been interested in painting and drawing his entire life. “I can’t remember ever not doing it,” he says. However, when he left home to study at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, he took some art courses but majored in geology. “I felt I couldn’t live up to my parents’ reputations, and I was intimidated
about becoming a professional artist,” he says.

Before too long, though, Larsen was “sucked back into painting,” as he describes it, and for the last 10 years has worked full-time as a professional artist. Larsen’s style falls somewhere between the abstract-expressionist work of his father, who “paints for paint’s sake, not to show an image,” and that of his mother, whose work is more objective. “When I started painting, I was interested in proving that I could draw, and I worked to make architectural elements or the landscape appear very realistic,” Larsen says. “But now I try to portray images as I want them to appear. I get enough realism from watching the news. I want my paintings to remove viewers from that and give them a peaceful, joyful view.” —MB

Larsen is represented by Gallery A, Taos, NM; Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Leapingotis Fine Art, Vail, CO; Joyce Petter Gallery, Saugatuck, MI; and Lisa Kurts Gallery, Memphis, TN.

Jason Rich, Emerging, oil, 24 x 18., Southwest Art
Jason Rich, Emerging, oil, 24 x 18.

Jason Rich
When Jason Rich’s oil Emerging won the Grand Prize in the 1997 Arts for the Parks competition, judges and collectors alike admired his ability to capture a
moment in the dramatic evening light when two mule deer emerge from the trees. But as Rich says, “I don’t usually paint wildlife! My subjects are primarily western, and often they focus on ranching and horses.”

That’s because Rich, 27, grew up on a small ranch in Preston, ID, where his family raised and trained show horses. “My initial interest in painting ranch scenes grew out of my experiences riding and being around horses when I was young,” he explains. Rich also says he’s been drawing as long as he can remember and always knew he would do “something in art” as
a career.

Rich earned his bachelor’s degree in art education from Utah State University, Logan, and taught school for a year. “I enjoyed it, but I missed painting,” he says, and so he decided to “take the plunge” and try painting full-time.

Rich recently moved from Logan to Ogden, UT. He doesn’t have enough room yet to own his own horses, but he frequently visits relatives who raise them to observe, sketch, and take photographs that inspire his paintings. —KB

Rich is represented by Trailside Galleries, Jackson, WY, and Scottsdale, AZ; Meyer Gallery, Park City, UT; Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, TX; Sanders Gallery, Tucson, AZ; and Southam Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT.

Michael Albrechtsen, Not Far From Home, oil, 26 x 36., Southwest Art
Michael Albrechtsen, Not Far From Home, oil, 26 x 36.

Michael Albrechtsen
Michael Albrechtsen didn’t pick up a paintbrush until 1989, but he was always drawing as a child and completed three years of technical drafting at Utah State University, Logan, before making the momentous decision to start all over again in the art program.
Soon after finishing his MFA in 1994, Albrechtsen, 35, was recruited as a greeting-card artist by Hallmark Cards and moved to Kansas City, KS, with his wife Lynda. Weeknights at home he paints in his studio alongside daughters Cassie, Marissa, and Lindsay, 6, 4, and 1, who have their own little easels. “Having my family close is the most important thing to me, and involving them in art brings us all closer together,” he says.

Albrechtsen’s country landscapes are infused with a distinctive quality of light that reflects off the surfaces of the rivers and lakes he likes to paint. When he includes a female figure, she often appears to be lost in contemplation. He also tucks farmhouses or cottages into the background. In Good Morning, three black-and-white cows graze placidly near a rocky stream, their bulky forms casting long shadows in the light reflecting off a lake on the horizon. “I want to be able to paint everything equally well—landscapes, figures, animals, still lifes,” Albrechtsen says. “I want to transfer whatever moves me to my canvas, and my greatest reward is when the viewer feels the same way I did when I saw the scene.” —DT

Albrechtsen is represented by D.E. Craghead/Fine Art Gallery, Carmel, CA; Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA; William Duncan Gallery, Park City, UT; Sunbird Gallery, Los Altos, CA; and Talisman Gallery, Bartlesville, OK.

Veerakeat Tongpaiboon, Fillmore Nights, oil, 24 x 30., Southwest Art
Veerakeat Tongpaiboon, Fillmore Nights, oil, 24 x 30.

Veerakeat Tongpaiboon
When gallery owner Thomas Reynolds saw Veerakeat Tongpai-boon’s work at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, CA, and discovered that the artist lived in the Fillmore District of the city, he included Tongpaiboon in Painting the Neighborhood, Reynolds’ inaugural show.
Tongpaiboon, 33, moved to San Francisco from his native Thailand in 1991. “I am still fascinated by plunging streets where you go up and down to cross roads that take off in different directions,” he says. “Thailand is very, very flat. I never could imagine buildings going up and down a mountain. San Francisco gives me a sense of displacement.”

Wielding a loaded brush, Tongpaiboon attacks his canvases boldly, favoring intense colors and skewed perspectives. In Fillmore Nights, he captures with broad strokes of paint the garish light spilling into the street from a corner bar. Above the Presidio is a telescopic bird’s-eye view of a former army base, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais beyond. Evening Glow depicts that magical time of day when the western sky is still pink yet the lights of city have started to come on.

Tongpaiboon credits Ning Hou, one of his advisors at the Academy of Art College, with showing him how to make quick studies and develop confident brush strokes. “He taught me to see color in the shadows,” he adds. “I use color to show my feelings.” —DT

Tongpaiboon is represented  by Thomas Reynolds Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

Les Namingha, Zuni Polychrome Jar, natural pigments on clay, 11 x 10., Southwest Art
Les Namingha, Zuni Polychrome Jar, natural pigments on clay, 11 x 10.

Les Namingha
After viewing Les Namingha’s award-winning traditional Hopi- and Zuni-style pottery, it may come as a surprise to l
earn that he is equally adept at abstract painting. Namingha, 30, studied painting at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, and graduated with a BA in design in 1992. He spent his summer breaks from college on the Hopi reservation in Arizona, where he learned pottery-making from his aunt. After graduation, he devoted himself to it, creating squat, yellow-orange polychrome Hopi forms to which he added his own variations. He has recently begun making vertical, white-slip Zuni pottery. “My mother is Zuni and my father is Tewa Hopi, so I’m interested in the art of both cultures,” he explains.

A couple of years ago, Namingha felt he needed to take a break from
the demands of making pottery, so he started painting again. “Pottery requires tremendous concentration,” he says, “but painting allows me more spontaneity and freedom.”

Now Namingha divides his time evenly between the two media, with obvious success: He won Best of Pottery as well as a Challenge Award for nontraditional painting at last year’s Indian Market in Santa Fe, NM. —MB

Namingha is represented by Faust Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Robert F. Nichols Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Gallery 10, Carefree, AZ; and Southwest Trading Co., Chicago, IL.

Featured in “Artists to Watch” January 1998