He started drawing horses from the time he could pick up a pencil.
He said he wanted to be a horse when he grew up.
He would practice his horse skills – changing leads, cantering and loping in circles, giving his brothers rides on his back as the bucking bronco in a rodeo.
He thought it would be so cool to be the smartest horse in the world since he started out as a human.
Once he realized he would fall short a few million years of evolution to achieve his dream, he settled on becoming something more realistic for his species – a cowboy. That way he could at least spend his days riding horses.
At this point I think his mother started singing, “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,” to him at night as a lullaby.
It must have worked because he gave up on becoming a cowboy and entered college to become an art teacher. Somehow he missed the part about “Let ’em be doctors and lawyers and such.”
After teaching high school art for one year Jason decided if he was going to starve anyway, he’d rather starve sitting at an easel than sitting in district meetings.
Jason decided if he couldn’t be a horse or a cowboy he would spend his days painting them, and our adventure in the world of western art began.
One of Jason’s aspirations as a western artist was to become a member of the elite Cowboy Artists of America organization. It was founded in 1965 by four real cowboys who were also artists. In the midst of a radical cultural shift in art toward the abstract and avant garde, these relics of the west wanted to preserve authentic representations of western life and culture before it faded into an obtuse paint-splattered sunset.
This group included some of Jason’s heroes. Over the past 16 years we have followed the art and careers of these guys working and aspiring someday for Jason to be included among them.
After years of pressing our noses against the window, a dream became a reality this past weekend as Jason was officially accepted as the newest member of the Cowboy Artists of American organization at the National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Let me be the first to say “Yee haw! Yippee ki oh, ki yay! Get along little dogies! Hi ho Silver! Wrangler butts drive me nuts!”
That’s all the excited cowboy lingo I know, but hopefully it will show how proud I am.
Jason didn’t grow up to be a horse and he didn’t grow up to be a cowboy, but he did grow up to paint horses and cowboys as authentic as I’ve ever seen them.
Now the pressure is on, though. We’ve got some big cowboy boots to fill.
In the words of Cosmo Kramer, “Giddy up!”
*See more of the art of Jason Rich HERE.