Duke Beardsley’s Look at an Old Genre
The artist's quest to create art for the modern Western era
THE ARTIST Duke Beardsley
BORN IN THE WEST “I’m fifth generation on my dad’s side and sixth on my mom’s, here in Colorado. We had a very Denver urban lifestyle but we also had a shared ranch property—with my grandfather, my uncle, my dad—an old family model of a job in town and a ranch outside of town.”
A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD GENRE “I’m trying to bring a more modern and contemporary art sensibility to a traditional subject. I’m curious: What does this mean in a very different West than the romanticized West of the old days? How can I continue to push it and twist it so that it has some relevance in a modern Western era? I don’t have the answers; I’m just happy to be doing the questioning and the exploring.”
EMBRACING CONTRASTS “If you grow up in the kind of urgent excitement of 1980s Denver—and vice versa, you spend time on a very romanticized, bucolic ranch out on the mesa—you’re probably going to have some contrasting colors. And I like that; I try to embrace that. I endeavor for my color selection to be instinctual. My color palette is very much influenced by modern art, pop art. I love how much energy color can bring to the equation, and I really do like to keep that from the hip.”
ON SUCCESS “Personally, my favorite is when a very experienced rancher comes to me and says, ‘Man, there’s something in what you’re doing that really strikes a chord for me.’ That’s a huge reward.”
NEXT Beardsley’s work will be on display in the Four Seasons Hotel, Denver, during January’s National Western Stock Show; and Scottsdale’s Altamira Fine Art will host a Duke Beardsley exhibition, February 17-29, 2020.