Category Archives: Fine Art Photography

I’m One Happy Cowboy!

Cowboy Photography; laughing with his friends.

My piece went for $1900.00 at the auction last night.  I was utterly stunned when the piece came up for bid and so many of the bidding paddles hit the air.  I was not anticipating this what-so-ever.  The man who eventually bought it introduced himself to me right before the auction and we talked about the Rodeo and it turned out his wife was actually in the background of the image.  She said to me “That was such a cold day” and I laughed and said it certainly was.  We looked at the image and sure enough there she was in a winter coat.  I told them about my connection to Montana, being from here, and growing up at on the ranch west of Missoula.  He recognized that I was a part of the Cyr clan the other side of Alberton.  He said he was going to buy this piece and hang it at their cabin at Placid Lake.

I spent most of yesterday leading up the auction in a sort of state of limbo.  I am not the type of person who puts himself out there in the spotlight very often.  It’s one of the reasons I worked backstage in the theater.  I tend to think of myself more as a craftsman who is obsessed with the process of creation and never really need to take a bow.  So began to feel myself beginning to retreat from myself when I arrived.  Thank goodness I had two my best friends beside me to support me.  On average most of the pieces where going for what they were valued at through the beginning of the bidding up until my piece came up.  I had put a price on it of $850 and originally thought that was high for a piece of photographic art.  When the piece was held up there was a hush in the crowd and I remember thinking this isn’t good.  But then as the bidding began it seemed as if the entire room erupted with cheers.  I could not see who all the bidders were but then the prices kept climbing into a sort of frenzy, with what looked like many people in on the bidding process as I watched spellbound.  My heart was racing so fast and it was a thrill I would say was comparable to when I sky dived a couple of years back.  I was almost breathless when the auctioneer closed it and tears welled up in my eyes.

One of the things that startled me most was that I was a first time artist at the event.  I have not really sold much of my imagery, mostly because I didn’t know how.  It seems to be such an expensive endeavor to create works for charity events.  There was a very good showing of arts in so many different mediums, so many really stunning pieces, by so many artists I have admired and adored for decades now.  My piece was the 12th highest selling piece of the evening of 110 pieces at the show, certainly the highest photographic artwork.

Last year I was really questioning the value of photography as works of art.  Weather the format has become devalued because we live in the modern digital error were it seems accessible for everyone to shoot.  I talked to so many artists that are painters whose works continually sell for great amounts and I have always felt being a photographic artist somewhat limited what I could do or the acceptance of photography as an actual form of art in this modern media driven culture.  I designed this piece to become a classic work that would endure.  Printed on a beautiful satin metallic surface, suspended as if floating in a heavy black drop frame.  I was awestruck seeing the Robert Mapplethorpe piece that was hanging in the Museum the last several months and it become the base for my own vision of this piece.

Everyone keeps saying, “Well this must give you a great sense of validation.”  I don’t necessarily feel it for me, but I feel it for the art of photography and what it can become.  It is something I love that I have wrapped my existence around for years, something that is now always taken seriously in many art circles.  Tonight was a revelation that photography can stand on it’s own.

I am utterly contented this morning and now the encouragement to begin thinking and working toward bringing my imagery into a more presentational artist form.  Thanks to all who support my work and help me maintain my vision.

Here’s to Gilbert!

Helmville Rodeo Photography: Cowboys Getting Ready to Ride

Today is the day!  It’s auction day.  I am jacked and excited to have a piece going up for bid tonight.  But I must admit I am just a wee bit nervous.  What if my piece only goes for $5, will that set the standard for what my work is really worth?  There are a lot of pieces available, perhaps for too many for such a small audience of buyers.  My piece is slated for 19th out of 74, plus there are about another 30 or so pieces as part of the silent part of the auction.  The tickets are $90 and it is being held in the University Center Ballroom with the bidding beginning at 7:00.  This is the annual fundraiser for the Missoula Art Museum downtown.  I seem to be in a very good spot.  I am the end of the first section right be for the most notable piece go up for bid.

Up to this point I have been fearful of putting my stuff out there.  I love the creation part of the process and thus far have done very little to promote myself.  I think it has mostly been a matter of confidence and a lack of time.  This piece I must admit is quite stunning, especially the way I have mounted and framed it.  But tonight really isn’t about me, it’s about supporting the arts in Missoula and the state of Montana.  This shows that Montana is a cultural center for artist to thrive and celebrate.  We are one of the few states that is way under funded by national endowments for the arts, therefor it feels that most of that support has to come from within.  Montana has produced a couple of notable artists, probably the best known being Charlie Russell.  So to become a part of that company I am greatly honored.  I am just another kid from a small town with a passion for creation and the expression of the world that surrounds me.

Tonight is a greater honor for me because I get to look back on all those that have supported me over the years, getting me to this place in the history of what I am to become.  Tonight I graciously bow my head to a man who saw a vision within myself and helped me reach for it.  My greatest supporter and mentor was a man named Gilbert Millikan.  This man’s life was devoted to the support of art and Montana Artists.  I had known him since my collage days when I lived in the carriage house in his back yard.  This event for the auction was one of the events he anticipated each year.  I would often accompany him and he would sit there with pen in hand jotting down the prices everything went for, often leaving with several new pieces for his collection.  This man had the most amazing collection of art, mostly Montana Artists.  The walls of his Victorian house were lined from floor the ceiling with splashes of color and texture.  I was fortunate enough to work for many years as Gilbert’s assistant.  Well it was hardly work, it was more like riding a wonderful balloon that was constantly filled with wonder, everyday filled with new delights to explore.  It was Gilbert that helped me get into photography, and I could not have done it without his him.  He knew all the artists and was my first introduction to this community.  I used to dream of a day when I would be able to join their ranks.  Well here it is Gilbert.  Tonight is for you my dear friend.  I miss you so much, your light will be well represented tonight in a fusion of glorious color, texture filled with surprise.

A New Chapter

Framed Artwork Created From Helmville Rodeo for Missoula Art Auction

Tonight is the beginning of a new chapter in my life?  Several months back I had submitted a piece of my art work to the Missoula Art Museum for their annual auction benefit.  The piece was accepted and tonight is the opening reception.  The piece is one of my rodeo images called Helmville Rodeo, Montana #112.  I had shot it several years back and had it printed on a satin metallic paper that was wrapped behind the image.  I then had Janell at the Art Attic frame to it in a big black drop frame so the image looks like it is floating within the frame.  The final piece was stunning, I could barely stand the thought of giving it away.  So tonight I feel is my debut in the Missoula Art scene.  I am still a bit stunned and not sure what to make of it all!!!!