21 Under 31 | September 2001

In this month’s Realism Today series we introduce you to 21 artists who are 31 years old or younger—an exciting survey of the next generation of western American artists. Talented and dedicated to their careers, these twenty- and thirty-somethings are beginning to make their mark in the art world, attracting the attention of galleries and collectors across the country. Judging by these examples, the future of western art looks bright.

Tony Peters, Pantry, oil, 28 x 40. painting, soutwest art.
 Tony Peters, Pantry, oil, 28 x 40.

Tony Peters


Born: Worthington, MN, 1976.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.

Style of work: Painterly style grounded in realism.

First art sale: “In 1999 I brought my work to Tirage Gallery in Pasadena while I was still in art school. A client of the gallery came in and bought one before I was even represented.”

Second-choice career: “When I was working my way through school, I worked in a gallery. If I weren’t a painter I guess that’s what I would do, but I really have to paint.”

Favorite artists: Painters in the Ashcan school.

Favorite subject: Urban landscapes.

Other passions: Taking long lunches, going to the gym, and participating in church activities.

Fantasy art trip: “Last year I spent a month in Europe going to the great museums in Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam. I wanted to do that for as long as I can remember. Next I want to go to Spain and Italy.”

Favorite studio music: Mozart, U2, Sting, and Louis Armstrong.

Pet peeve: Art that doesn’t have a point. “I want to do work that will leave its mark and work that I feel is important to myself and moving to others.”

Favorite artworks: “Richard Bunkall was a huge influence on me as a teacher. He taught me the importance of doing what’s important.”

Creative spark: “I have a huge collection of art books—my studio is packed from floor to ceiling. I also get inspired by going to museums and galleries.”

Next big goal: To finish an epic landscape painting with multiple figures.

Price range: $1,000-$4,000.

Galleries: Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA.

Ruth Sorensen, Land View Five, oil, 12 x 24. painting, southwest art.
Ruth Sorensen, Land View Five, oil, 12 x 24.

Ruth Sorenson


Born: Seattle, WA, 1975.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts from Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA.

Style of work: Realism.

First art sale: “When I was 16, I sold a drawing of flowers to one of my high-school art teachers for 20 bucks. I was totally flattered and I felt rich.”

First artwork: “I used to draw the ferry-boats in Seattle when I was 4 years old. Then I moved on to flowers.”

Second-choice career: Nurse.

Favorite artists: Alice Neel and Jan Vermeer.

Favorite subject: “Landscapes, especially ones inspired by Alaska, where I was raised.”

Other passions: “I’m an avid cyclist.”

Fantasy art trip: Biking through New Zealand.

Favorite studio music: “I’m a big NPR fan. I have it on almost constantly.”

Pet peeve: Washing brushes. “My e-mail name is ‘dirty brushes.’”

Favorite artwork: Woman in Blue by Jan Vermeer.

Creative spark: Art sales and a good bike ride.

Next big goal: “Lose the day job. I’d like to be able to paint full time.”

Price range: $800-$4,000.

Galleries: Martha Keats Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Baas Gallery, Seattle, WA.

Julia Bauernfeind, Dining Room, oil, 16 x 19. painting, southwest art.
Julia Bauernfeind, Dining Room, oil, 16 x 19.

Julia  Bauernfeind


Born: Klagenfurt, Austria, 1971.

Art education: Master of fine arts degree from California State University in Long Beach. Studied art history at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Style of work: Representational.

First art sale: Portrait of a Young Girl (Cornelia) in 1988.

Second-choice career: A mixture of writer, historian, traveler, photographer, journalist, philosopher, teacher, furniture builder, and gardener.

Favorite artists: Hieronymus Bosch, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Egon Schiele, Mark Rothko, Lucian Freud, and many more.

Favorite subject: People.

Other passions: Family, friends, literature, music, traveling, hiking, scuba diving, exhibitions, museums, good conversations, food, and drink.

Favorite studio music: Anything from classical to heavy metal.

Favorite artwork: The Absinthe Drinker by Edgar Degas.

Next big goal: Solo exhibitions in Austria in October and in the United States in May 2002.

Price range: $250-$3,000.

Galleries: MJW Fine Art, Balboa Island, CA.

James Prosek, Trout With Fishing Rod, watercolor, 17 x 22 1/2. painting, southwest art.
 James Prosek, Trout With Fishing Rod, watercolor, 17 x 22 1/2.

James Prosek


Born: Stamford, CT, 1975.

Art education: Classes at Silvermine Art School; bachelor’s degree in English literature from Yale University, with painting and architectural drawing courses.

Style of work: Watercolor landscapes and portraits of fish.

First art sale: “When I was 7 or 8 my best friend Taylor’s mom  insisted on buying a pen-and-ink drawing I did.”

First artwork: “I did copies of Audubon paintings when I was 5.”

Second-choice career: Architect and writer.

Favorite artist: Winslow Homer.

Favorite subject: Fish.

Other passions: “Playing rock-and-roll guitar with The Trout Band. And writing and illustrating books—I have four books out, mostly about trout fishing. I spent two years traveling and fishing around the world on the latitude line of my home, the 41st parallel. I’m writing and illustrating a book about that, to be published by HarperCollins in January 2003.”

Fantasy art trip: “To go back to Japan. The Japanese have a great aesthetic thing going, and they appreciate fish.”

Favorite studio music: “I usually don’t listen to music, but if I do it’s early American folk music—Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly.”

Pet peeve: “That work termed ‘wildlife art’ is not always considered fine art.”

Favorite artwork: The Guide, a watercolor by Homer.

Best advice received: “Don’t rely on inspiration, just draw every day and keep at it. I do believe in inspiration, but you can’t wait for it.”

Next big goal: “To publish the novel that I’ve been writing (and rewriting) for, like, eight years.”

Creative spark: Reading or looking at other art.

Price range: $2,500-$6,000.

Galleries: Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.

Shana Zimmerman, Barrio IV, oil, 24 x 18. painting, southwest art.

Shana Zimmerman, Barrio IV, oil, 24 x 18.

Shana Zimmerman


Born: Tucson, AZ, 1971.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts from the Univer-sity of Arizona at Tucson.

Style of work: Figurative and representational. “I use color to express my psychological and emotional interpretations of people and their environments.”

First art sale: “In the seventh grade I painted a picture of a child I was babysitting, and the parents bought it for $55.”

First artwork: The family story goes like this: At 2 1/2 I would scream bloody murder because I was trying to draw a face and I was unhappy because I wasn’t getting it right, but I would never accept help.”

Second-choice career: “There is no second choice.”

Favorite artist: “There are so many artists I respect, who aided my development, I can’t choose just one.”

Favorite subject: People and their humanity. “I like to take reality as a base and mix it or blur it with my emotion.”

Other passions: “My dog, Chaos. Also traveling, hiking, and laughing, and always people-watching.”

Fantasy art trip: “To live in another culture and learn what matters there, especially a Latin American country. I’m a people person.”

Favorite studio music: Everything: Cuban, classical, blues, rock, techno. “The music is mainly to keep me company.”

Pet peeve: “Seeing artists being pigeonholed. Artists needs to stumble and grow to reach their potential.”

Favorite artwork: “I’ve always enjoyed The Scream by Edvard Munch.”

Best advice received: “Decide on the focal point of the painting and don’t linger on anything that doesn’t emphasize that.”

Creative spark: “Looking at images, interacting with people, being aware of the world around me.”

Next big goal: “I view growth as a continuum. I’m constantly striving to more clearly express my vision.”

Price range: $600-$3,000.

Galleries: Joe Wade Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

Scott Brems, Transition, oil, 12 x 16. painting, southwest art.

Scott Brems, Transition, oil, 12 x 16.

Scott Brems


Born: Las Vegas, NV, 1975.

Art education: Currently majoring in painting at Arizona State University in Tempe. Has also attended the University of Arizona in Tucson and the Scottsdale Artists School.

Style of work: “I haven’t narrowed my focus down. I do a lot of everything, including landscapes, cityscapes, figures, portraits, and abstract works.”

First art sale: Sold a painting to a fellow student in one of Matt Smith’s classes at the Scottsdale Artists School.

Second-choice career: Architect. “I like the idea of building an environment.”

Favorite artists: Richard Diebenkorn and John Register.

Favorite subjects: “Right now I’ve been doing mostly cityscapes and abstract works.”

Other passions: Skateboarding and spending time with his family (he and his wife have a 6-year-old daughter).

Fantasy art trip: “I’d love to see the Hermitage in St. Petersburg or visit Hong Kong.”

Favorite studio music: Anything from classical to jazz to industrial music. “I always have music on, but I really don’t hear it when I’m painting. I tune it out.”

Pet peeve: “Formula painting—when someone finds a formula and paints it over and over because it sells. There’s no evolution in their work.”

Favorite artwork: “Waiting Room for the Beyond by John Register. I like the way he could personify a chair and how you can feel a connection with him personally.”

Best advice received: “Don’t discount modern art, even as you’re doing traditional paintings. Mark Daily told me this—that it’s important for all works to have a conceptual meaning and have some kind of meaning to the artist.”

Creative spark: “Driving around or going to the bookstore and visually taking things in.”

Next big goal: “To be able to connect with people through my art.”

Price range: $500-$5,000.

John Patrick Campbell, Renascent Still Life, oil, 12 x 16. painting southwest art.
John Patrick Campbell, Renascent Still Life, oil, 12 x 16.

John Patrick Campbell

Washington, DC

Born: Metairie, LA, 1975.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts from George Washington University, Washington, DC. Private study with Frank Wright.

First art sale: A plein-air landscape painting resulting from a month’s sojourn in Corfu, Greece. “I only received a small sum, but for my morale it was worth hundreds of dollars.”

First artwork: “At the age of 4, I did a series of drawings, got a hammer, and nailed them to my parent’s bedroom wall, which no doubt pleased them much less than I expected.”

Second-choice career: Acting. “I studied acting at the well-known Studio Theatre in DC, where I was in a play called ‘The Wild Party.’ No Hollywood scouts have expressed interest so far.”

Favorite artists: Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Jacques-Louis David. “I emulate rather than imitate them. I also have great admiration for Vermeer, Velázquez, and Lorenzo Lotto.”

Other passions: Athletics. “From the time I was very young I was a competitive swimmer. I was on the rowing team throughout my college career.”

Fantasy art trip: A visit to a mid-19th-century French brothel like those frequented by Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Favorite studio music: “I love to listen to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I also love Puccini’s La Boheme with Pavarotti and Mirella Freni as Mimi.”

Pet peeve: “My inability to live up to my aspirations and expectations as a painter.”

Price range: $1,800-$12,000.

Galleries: John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Strathmore Hall Arts Center, North Bethesda, MD.

Patrick Saunders, Don t Stand in the Light, oil, 30 x 24. painting,  southwest art.

 Patrick Saunders, Don’t Stand in the Light, oil, 30 x 24.

Patrick Saunders


Born: St. Louis, MO, 1971.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts from the Kansas City Art Institute; workshops with Richard Schmid, Burt Silverman, Skip Liepke, and others.

Style of work: Figurative and landscape.

First art sale: “In college I sold a piece to the Kemper family, a banking family in Kansas City.”

First artwork: “As a kid I drew Star Wars action figures.”

Second-choice career: Musician. “I play punk rock guitar and sing.”

Favorite artist: Nicolai Fechin.

Favorite subject: Children, especially outdoors in the summertime.

Other passions: “I play a lot of guitar; I’m a self-taught Web designer; and my wife and I just bought an old farm house that we’re restoring.”

Fantasy trip: “To go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.”

Favorite studio music: “Really loud, fast punk rock. It stops you from thinking, and it’s better not to think when you’re painting.”

Pet peeve: “People who aren’t painting subject matter that they’re emotionally attached to, because it really comes across.”

Favorite artwork: John Singer Sargent’s The Fountain: Villa Torlonia.

Best advice received: Paint what you know.

Creative spark: “The feeling, when a painting is done or halfway done, that I can’t remember making the marks. It’s exciting to see these things come together and not fully understand how it happens.”

Next big goal: “To market myself on the Web.”

Price range: $800-$10,000.

Galleries: Eva Reynolds Fine Arts, Kansas City, KS.

Steve Gerhartz, Birches at Sunset, oil, 42 x 84. painting, southwest art.

Steve Gerhartz, Birches at Sunset, oil, 42 x 84.

Steve Gerhartz


Born: Kewaskum, WI, 1971.

Art education: Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT.

Style of work: Realism.

First art sale: “I sold a painting of apple blossoms when I was 16. A woman bought it while I was showing my work to a gallery.”

First artwork: “The first oil painting I did was outside in a Wisconsin snowstorm when I was about 14.”

Second-choice career: Scientist or biologist.

Favorite artist: Isaac Levitan.

Favorite subjects: Snow scenes with trees, or landscapes as sunset nears.

Other passions: Fishing, hunting, and hiking.

Fantasy art trip: A three-week painting trip floating on a wooden raft down the Wisconsin River with Isaac Levitan, Claude Monet, Bruno Liljefors, Joaquin Sorolla, Bob Dylan, Babe Winkelman, and a translator.

Favorite studio music: “I go back and forth between classical and rock and roll.”

Pet peeve: Bugs. “We have a lot of mosquitoes, horseflies, and deerflies here.”

Favorite artwork: Village on the Bank of a River by Isaac Levitan.

Creative spark: Being outdoors.

Price range: $500-$10,000.

Galleries: G.C. Lucas Gallery, Indianapolis, IN; Griffin Graphics, Chicago, IL; White Oak Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; Ann Hughes Fine Art, Dallas, TX; Edgewood Orchard, Fish Creek, WI.

Jeremy Lipking, Surf Song, oil, 24 x 18. painting, southwest art.
 Jeremy Lipking, Surf Song, oil, 24 x 18.

Jeremy Lipking


Born: Santa Monica, CA, 1975.

Art education: Studied at the California Art Institute in Westlake Village, CA, and learned from his father, who is an artist. “I also started teaching drawing at the Institute, and I really consider that an important part of my education.”

Style of work: Painterly figurative, landscape, and still-life works.

First artwork:“I was about 7, and I did this acrylic painting of a science-fiction space scene that I copied out of a book. My dad still has it hanging up in the garage.”

Second-choice career: Music. “Before I took up painting seriously, I played the guitar with different bands.”

Favorite artists: The list changes from month to month. “Right now it’s Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, Richard Schmid, and Nicolai Fechin.”

Favorite subject: Figurative works.

Other passions: “Playing music is still something I like to do when I get a chance.” Also mountain climbing and spending time with his wife and son.

Fantasy art trip: Painting in the Himalayas, Nepal, and Tibet.

Favorite studio music: “When I play music it’s diverse—world, folk, punk, and reggae. I also like to listen to tapes by philosopher and linguist Alan Watts. His words are like music.”

Favorite artworks: Sargent’s Phoenician paintings and Zorn’s outdoor nudes.

Creative spark: “People and nature inspire me.”

Next big goal: “Usually my next big goal is to successfully finish my next painting.”

Price range: $1,000-$5,000.

Galleries: Morseburg Galleries, Los Angeles, CA; Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA.

Sam Lawlor, Country Pickin, oil, 20 x 24. painting, southwest art.
 Sam Lawlor, Country Pickin’, oil, 20 x 24.

Sam  Lawlor


Born: Provo, UT, 1970.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts degree from Utah State University, Logan, UT.

Style of work: “I do traditional realistic work that I want to be loose, juicy, and painterly.”

First artwork: “When I was 5 my parents sent my drawing of an elephant and clown to a children’s magazine, and it was published. That gave me confidence way back then to pursue art.”

Second-choice career: Doctor. “If I became a doctor I could afford to buy art, too.”

Favorite artists: Thomas Dewing from the Sargent era and Richard Schmid. “But the first one that really grabbed me in high school was Burt Silverman, and I continue to like his work today.”

Favorite studio music: Books on tape or music ranging from classical to rock such as the Beatles, U2, and REM.

Pet peeve: “I’m constantly on myself to be myself and not try to mimic another artist’s style. It bugs me when I look at one of my paintings and say, ‘that looks like so-and-so’s painting.’ “

Favorite artworks: Two paintings by Morgan Weistling at Trailside Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. “He has an amazing style and ability.”

Best advice received: “Back in college I read a quote by N.C. Wyeth that basically said to become a good artist you have to paint a lot. Paint. Paint. Paint.”

Creative spark: “When I go to a gallery and see good work, it totally inspires me.”

Price range: $600-$4,000.

Galleries: Howard/Mandville Gallery, Seattle, WA; Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; 16th Street Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT.

Candice Eisenfeld, Of Dreams and Forking Pathways, acrylic, 22 x 48. painting, southwest art.
Candice Eisenfeld, Of Dreams and Forking Pathways, acrylic, 22 x 48.

Candice Eisenfeld


Born: Arlington, TX, 1973.

Art education: Studied at Bezalel Academy of Fine Art in Jerusalem and received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Style of work: Contemporary abstract landscapes.

First art sale: “While in art school I had a job answering phones at the college of fine arts. People would call asking for students to do illustrations, and I’d always offer to do it.”

Favorite artists: Odd Nerdrum, Gustav Klimt, and George Inness.

Other passions: Traveling and making attempts at gardening.

Fantasy art trip: To take a year off to travel throughout China and Thailand.

Favorite studio music: “I go through phases and listen to everything from CNN to jazz to Tom Waits.”

Favorite artworks: Woman Killing Injured Man by Odd Nerdrum; The Kiss by Klimt; and Early Autumn, Montclair by George Inness.

Best advice received: Michael Costello, my gallery director at Vanier Gallery, once told me something like, ‘you have whatever power you want to have.’ I thought that was pretty insightful.”

Creative spark: Traveling, dreaming, driving, and taking showers.

Next big goal: “Lately I’ve been developing some interesting varnishing techniques, and I feel like I’m at an exciting stage with my art.”

Price range: $2,500-$8,500.

Galleries: Contemporary Southwest Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Marion Meyer Contemporary Art, Laguna Beach, CA; Vanier Gallery on Main, Scottsdale, AZ; Circa Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; Craighead-Green Gallery, Dallas, TX; Robert Berman Gallery, Bergamot Station, CA.

Nita Moore, Shallots, oil, 6 x 7. painting, southwest art.

Nita Moore, Shallots, oil, 6 x 7.

Nita Moore

New York

Born: Columbia, SC, 1973.

Art education: Bachelor of arts degree in studio art from Smith College in Northampton, MA; currently studies at the Water Street Atelier in Brooklyn.

Style of work: Classical realism, focusing on figures, still lifes, and landscapes.

First art sale: “When I was a kid I made a ceramic school bus that my school purchased for its collection.”

Favorite artists: Chardin, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Caravaggio, and Velázquez.

Favorite subject: “I really like doing still lifes. I like to paint things that are visually appealing to me.”

Other passions: Reading, cooking, taking walks, gardening.

Fantasy art trip: “I would love to paint the ancient ruins in Greece and the Mediterranean.”

Favorite studio music: “I like to listen to classical music. I play Bach’s cello suites over and over.”

Pet peeve: “I hate it when I get sweater fuzz in my paint.”

Favorite artwork: Deposition From the Cross by Rogier Van der Weyden, in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Best advice received: “To be patient. I guess that probably applies to patience while working, patience with each brush stroke, and patience in the grand scheme of things, as in not rushing your career.”

Creative spark: “Being in a studio surrounded by other talented artists.”

Next big goal: “I’ve been putting a lot of energy into figurative painting right now, so my big goal is to paint a figure that I’m proud of.”

Price range: $1,500-$3,000.

Galleries: John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX; Century Gallery, Alexandria, VA; Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY.

Jennifer Albright-Ballas, The Golden Pavilion, oil, 30 x 30.  painting, southwest art.
 Jennifer Albright-Ballas, The Golden Pavilion, oil, 30 x 30. 

Jennifer Albright-Ballas

New Mexico

Born: Memphis, TN, 1973.

Art education: Classes at Memphis College of Art; bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Style of work: Representational, whimsical architectural imagery.

First art sale: “In the seventh grade I did some prints and sold a couple of them in an art show.”

First artwork: “A drawing of a doll, which I did in kindergarten and which made it into the school newspaper. (It’s still framed on my mom’s wall.)”

Second-choice career: Architect.

Favorite artist: The architect/artist Gaudí. Also Wayne Thiebaud.

Favorite subject: Buildings.

Other passions: “I like to read, and all my [painting] titles are from books I’m reading. I also like to garden, go hiking, and travel.”

Fantasy art trip: “To revisit Spain and spend more time there this time. I get lots of inspiration from the architecture there.”

Favorite studio music: Jazz, hip-hop, or rap.

Pet peeve: “When talented artists get in a rut and paint the same piece over and over.”

Favorite artwork: The park in Barcelona designed by Gaudí.

Best advice received: “An ‘accident’ or ‘mistake’ in painting can actually turn into one of the best things about the painting; basically there aren’t really mistakes.”

Creative spark: “Architecture is really what feeds me, especially when I see something new and different, or when I find something fantastic that someone else has created.”

Next big goal: “I’ve reached quite a few of them in the past couple of years, so now I guess my goal is to have a really great time while I paint, and to continue to be better than I am now.”

Price range: $750-$4,500.

Galleries: Joe Wade Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Carabaux Gallery, New Orleans, LA.

Mark Daniel Nelson, The Blue Door, oil, 20 x 16. painting, southwest art.
Mark Daniel Nelson, The Blue Door, oil, 20 x 16.

Mark Daniel Nelson


Born: Minneapolis, MN, 1974.

Art education: Colorado Institute of Art and classes at the Art Students League of Denver.

First art sale: At an art market at the Art Students League. “I did a lot of practice pieces and sold them for very little, but I had a few that I put obscene prices on. This couple came along and actually bought one of those. That’s when I decided I was going to do this.”

First artwork: “I remember drawing a lot of fantasy stuff, like Star Wars, Mad magazine, and comic-book drawings.”

Favorite artist: Gustav Klimt. “I like Klimt’s work because he had a great combination of graphic elements as well as organic, figurative elements.”

Other passions: Plays guitar in two bands—one rock and roll, the other a gospel revival band.

Fantasy art trip: “I’d like to paint the working people of Moscow. And I love snow, and there’s lots of it there.”

Pet peeve: “Anytime someone is painting for a purpose other than the subject. Paintings that are overly romanticized and sentimental. Anytime a work veers from authenticity and sincerity.”

Favorite artwork: “The one that sticks with me is Medicine, a mural by Gustav Klimt. The whole feel of the painting is so dramatic in a way that we don’t paint anymore.”

Best advice received: “To be patient and happy with where you are now and not try to push your career into something you’re not ready for.”

Creative spark: Traveling. “I love to go on a trip and come back with sketches and photographs. That always provides about a month of inspiration.”

Price range: $500-$5,000.

Galleries: Third Canyon Gallery, Denver, CO; Mad Creek Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO.

Stefan Bateman, Envision, oil, 24 x 40. painting, southwest art.
 Stefan Bateman, Envision, oil, 24 x 40.

Stefan Bateman


Born: Idaho Falls, ID, 1972.

Art education: Bachelor of fine arts degree from Utah State University.

Style of work: Landscapes. “The first word that comes to mind when I think of my work is ‘moody.’ I like to have high contrasts between light and dark and between warm and cool.”

First art sale: “I traded a bunch of my drawings to another student for a pair of sunglasses in sixth grade. I thought I was pretty cool.”

Second-choice career: “I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I joke that if I couldn’t do this I’d work at McDonald’s or be a gas-station attendant.”

Favorite artist: “I’m very much drawn to Andrew Wyeth’s work. He communicates so much about himself in his works, and I connect with that, because my paintings reflect so much about me.”

Other passions: Hiking, backpacking, and fly-fishing.

Fantasy art trip: “I’d love to go to England and take the Chunnel to France, then travel throughout Europe. I’d also like to go to Africa, because I really like primitive art.”

Favorite studio music: “My friends persecute me because I listen to Neil Diamond, John Denver, and ABBA, but I’ll listen to anything, from Led Zeppelin to Mozart.”

Favorite artwork: Barracoon, a figurative painting by Andrew Wyeth. “There’s this contrast between the white sheets and the black skin of the model. There’s such mood and emotion in it. That’s why I’m always drawn to his work.”

Best advice received: “To be honest to who I am, not gear my paintings toward what would sell. To be honest to my artistic interests.”

Creative spark: “Usually if I feel stuck, I just keep painting. The time I spend in the landscape hiking also inspires me.”

Price range: $500-$3,000.

Galleries: Horizon Fine Art, Jackson, WY.

Brent Greenwood, Still Standing, acrylic, 24 x 20. painting, southwest art.

 Brent Greenwood, Still Standing, acrylic, 24 x 20.

Brent Greenwood


Born: Oklahoma City, OK, 1971.

Art education: Associate’s degree in fine art from the Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, NM (he’s half Chickasaw and half Ponca); bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University.

Style of work: Contemporary expressions of Indian peoples.

First art sale: “My first major sales were at my graduate student solo senior exhibit at Oklahoma City University.”

First artwork: “I remember in the fourth grade doing a pencil drawing from an illustration in a book I was reading, of a girl smoking a cigar in a bathroom.”

Second-choice career: “Something in a field where I could give back something of myself to benefit others; maybe teaching.”

Favorite artists: Mark Rothko and T.C. Cannon.

Favorite subjects: “Ideas and reflections of our people as Indians in the 21st century.”

Other passions: “Spending quality time with my family—my wife, our 5-year-old son, and we’re getting ready to adopt a 2-year-old, the daughter of my wife’s [deceased] sister.

Fantasy art trip: Paris.

Favorite studio music: “Any good music with a good beat: Ulali [a Native American a cappella group], the Latin band Ozo Matli, or powwow music.”

Pet peeve: “Artists who portray all Indians as shamans or who romanticize Indian life.”

Favorite artwork: Seven War Ponies by Kevin Red Star.

Best advice received: My first year at IAIA, the printmaking instructor told me I should step outside the box of Oklahoma-style art and experiment.”

Creative spark: Staying involved in the art world. “Attending exhibitions or art classes helps keep my drive alive.”

Next big goal: “To be financially independent so I’ll have the time, energy, and money to create and paint whenever and whatever I want.”

Price range: $250-$2,750.

Galleries: Kiva Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Jacobson House, Norman, OK.

Travis Erion, Shooting Star, oil, 18 x 24. painting, southwest art.
Travis Erion, Shooting Star, oil, 18 x 24.

Travis Erion


Born: Loveland, CO, 1971.

Art education: American Academy of Fine Art in Chicago and Maryland Institute of Art. Also apprenticed with sculptor Fritz White and worked with Richard Schmid and Ned Jacob.

First art sale: “I started out as a sculptor, and I sold my first piece when I was 17. If I could buy that back I probably would.”

Second-choice career: “I play the guitar a little bit, so maybe that, but I don’t really see myself ever doing anything else.”

Favorite subject: “I paint a lot of still lifes. I use still lifes to learn the craft, because it’s easy to learn by doing them.”

Other passions: Traveling, playing the guitar, and doing martial arts.

Fantasy art trip: “I went to Russia with my father when the cold war was still going on. We visited all the museums, and I’d like to do that again, because I can’t recall very much of what we saw; I was too young to appreciate it.”

Favorite studio music: Classical music during the complicated parts of a painting; blues and reggae during the quicker parts.

Favorite artworks: “Picasso did a lot of pottery pieces in a variety of forms, such as birds, female figures, and pitchers. Some are funny and some are serious. I love those.”

Best advice received: “Ned Jacob would always say, ‘Don’t worry about style—you’ve got your own style, you’ve just got to let it come out.’ As soon as I stopped looking for my style I found it.”

Next big goal: “To make sure that everything that leaves the studio is as good as it can be.”

Price range: $1,200-$6,400.

Galleries: Gallery East, Loveland, CO; Merrill Johnson Gallery, Denver, CO; Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.

Duke Beardsley, On Deck, oil, 30 x 40. painting, southwest art.
 Duke Beardsley, On Deck, oil, 30 x 40.

Duke Beardsley


Born: Denver, CO, 1969.

Art education: Bachelor’s degree in art history from Middlebury College in Vermont; bachelor of fine arts in illustration from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA.

First art sale: “When I was little I did a painting of a hockey player friend, who bought it for about $20.”  

Second-choice career: “If I had any talent, which I don’t, I’d be a musician. Or maybe a lawyer.”

Favorite artists: Ray Turner and Richard Bunkall, who were painters and teachers at school and very influential.

Favorite subject: Almost every aspect of life in the West today.

Other passions: “I’m newly wed, so I love spending time with my wife and our dog; also fishing.”

Fantasy art trip: “Cuba, Bolivia, or Mongolia, for the cultures. I’d go with my sketch book and camera.”

Favorite studio music: “It’s eclectic, but maybe Stevie Ray Vaughn, Junior Wells, or almost anything by the Stones.”

Pet peeve: “People who aren’t artists, or don’t have a lot of experience, but freely offer you advice.”

Favorite artwork: Frederic Remington’s Dash for the Timber.

Best advice received: Ray Turner said: “Learn the difference between the precious and the essential, and make every painting essential.”

Creative spark: Road trips, reading— especially contemporary western literature—and talking with other artists. “But nothing beats covering a lot of ground on horseback with my dad.”

Next big goal: To establish good relationships with galleries outside Colorado.

Price range: $100 for prints to $6,000 for paintings.

Galleries: Carson Gallery, Denver, CO.

Darin Miller, Drifting Towards Sunset, oil, 12 x 30. painting, southwest art.
 Darin Miller, Drifting Towards Sunset, oil, 12 x 30.

Darin Miller


Born: Sandusky, OH, 1981.

Art education: Art classes in high school; otherwise self-taught.

Style of work: Wildlife art, as detailed as possible, in oil.

First art sale: “I might have been 10 or 11—I sold a painting of a lighthouse to a friend’s dad.”

First artwork: “I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember, well before school age.”

Second-choice career: Professional golfer.

Favorite artist: Wildlife artist Carl Brenders.

Favorite subject: Larger animals like the big cats and wolves.

Other passions: Golf. “I play 18 holes every day. Also walking through the woods with a camera.”

Fantasy art trip: “Africa, for the animals, but I like it out west too, toward Glacier National Park. Alaska wouldn’t be too bad either.”

Favorite studio music: Rock or heavy metal, like the band Nevermore.

Pet peeve: “Sometimes the bigger an artist gets, the worse the quality of the work gets, like they’re selling their name instead of their talent.”

Favorite artwork: Rock Face Descent by Robert Bateman.

Best advice received: “John Seerey-Lester had good advice about setting up a composition: Take it to extremes—for example, put the animal up in a corner to make it interesting.”

Creative spark: Looking through reference photos or books, or being outside in the wild.

Next big goal: “To find a publisher for my prints.”

Price range: $500-$4,000.

Galleries: Horizon Fine Art, Jackson, WY.

Jennifer Diehl, Two Egg Whites, oil, 11 x 24. painting, southwest art.
  Jennifer Diehl, Two Egg Whites

Jennifer Diehl


Born: Madison, WI, 1982.

Art education: Studies at the Scottsdale Artists School and under the tutelage of her mother, artist Susan Diehl. She also attends Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Style of work: “I use a traditional painting style, but my subjects are more funky. I want people to see the beauty in everyday things.”

First art sale: “When I was 10 I sold one of my works to artist Cheri Christensen.”

First artwork: “My mom says she knew I was going to be an artist when I was 2 because I put a lot of papers on the floor and drew across them like I was making a mural.”

Favorite artist: Nicolai Fechin.

Other passions: Traveling, hiking, rock climbing, and being outdoors.

Fantasy art trip: “I’d love to go to Italy, particularly Florence, but mostly, I just want to go everywhere.”

Favorite studio music: “I share a studio with my mom, and we listen to a variety of music, including alternative, classical, blues, and oldies. I like more modern things, and sometimes we have little quarrels over what to listen to.”

Pet peeve: When people overanalyze a piece of art.

Favorite artwork: Marigolds, an oil pastel painting by deceased Chinese artist Si-Chen Yuan. “That one made me want to try oil pastels.”

Best advice received: “I went to dinner one night with my parents and one of my mom’s teachers, Ron Lucas. I was coloring on the paper on the table, and he took a yellow crayon and colored over the top of my drawing. He then told me that it’s important that your work have an overall color to tie it all together. That’s really stuck with me.”

Price range: Under $1,000.

Galleries: Long Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.