Archive for April 18th, 2011

A Real American Cowboy

April 18, 2011 in Art,Artists | Comments (0)

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In case you didn’t know, cowboys are alive and well—and multi-talented!  There’s one cowboy, I’d especially like you to meet.  Gary Campbell.  He’s not your typical cowboy.  He’s a talented artist in well-worn cowboy boots and probably knows how to tie more kinds of knots in a rope than a boy scout.

Aside from being a modern-day American cowboy, he has a special creative gift and brings something unusual to his craft.  Maybe it is the fact that he trained horses professionally for 40 years; and for all those years, he handled the material that now is fundamental to his artwork.  Although he’s an accomplished sculptor and for years sculpted cowboys, horses, wildlife and Native Americans,  now his hands are busy molding rope. Gary has worked with rope all his life and can  lasso his target with precision. Today, however, he is doing something unexpected with this well-known cowboy’s tool. 

He’s making baskets. Based on a simple idea, he decided to repurpose authentic lariat ropes from working cowboys, cowgirls, and ranchers.  He collects used rope and artfully turns them into decorative baskets.  His idea flourished. His baskets evolved. From ordinary, natural rope, he twists and turns, and forms exquisite functional baskets. His wife, Sue, knew he was on to something special right from the start. She suggested dying the rope and adding other elements to the baskets or lids like elk, deer, or moose horns.  Gary’s ideas for new and unexpected designs continue to grow with each creation.  He recently told us that what makes his artwork special is, “Each basket or bowl has its own character, like the sturdy rope it was made with.  These ropes previously had a full life of their own and now they have a new life. That makes for an interesting story. ” I could not agree more.

From one cowboy’s hard-working hands, to Gary’s creative hands, to your hands, we are excited to bring these beautiful baskets to Hunter-Wolff Gallery—and pass on the legend of a real American cowboy.

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