Let’s reevaluate the future of Native American, Cowboy and the Western Art Genres, and its role in Contemporary Art!
Recently San Antonio has seen the decade long cultivation of funds to finalize the budget needed for the opening of the new Briscoe Western Art Museum in downtown San Antonio, the signature Cowboys & Indians as Southwest Art Magazines are thriving and various Wild West reenactments around Texas still spur the collective memory of the stories behind the settlement of the West and the stubborn and cherished Texas Pride.
But more importantly, what happens when key artists of a specific art genre begin to pass away, leaving behind a legacy but no continued lineage?
Answer: Mentorships and workshop spur students and traditionalists who have studied with the masters to try to keep the coveted aesthetic going.
With only 21 active members of the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA) alive, the once exclusive art group that swore “To authentically preserve and perpetuate the culture of western life in fine art”, is but a dying breed of artists.
Losing two key members in the last few years and most of them being mid-career or older, there will be a need to readdress the contemporary and living artists who are abiding by these same philosophies and holding true to a preservation of culture.
This is where Boerne, Texas comes into the story of a continued conservancy. One such artist that strives to capture and preserve this aesthetic is Boerne’s own Bill Scheidt. Bill Scheidt is a level 5 certified Texas Professional Farrier (a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming, balancing and the placing of shoes on their hooves), and is a member of the Texas Professional Farriers Association. Interestingly, Bill Scheidt worked the horse route around Boerne from 1971 till about 1987, and still resides in Boerne. He was also the Farrier for what was previous - Fair Oaks Ranch, before it was a gated community on I-10 known as the same name.
With such an extended and significant career around horses it is not surprising the subject matter that garners Scheidt’s attention. He has studied at the Scottsdale Artists School; taken workshops with: artist, Roy Andersen; CAA artist, Joe Beeler; CAA artist, Jim Norton; CAA artist, R. S. Riddick and Bruce Greene; and attended various other Cowboy Artists of America workshops.
Bill Scheidt is also a Signature Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation, “Supporting wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage.”
Stoic in his intentions, Scheidt is a revered and well respected artist by several Native American tribes for his renditions of Native American Culture. Showcasing the unique characteristics of members of the Taos Pueblo (Tiwa or Tewah tribe) and Apache tribe, Scheidt is true to form in capturing this indigenous way of life. Also as a sign of gratitude and respect for his craft, Scheidt was presented a highly prized woven Navajo blanket by Native American, Joanna Purley which is on display in his personal studio – as a reminder of his servitude to an entrusted legacy.
Bill Scheidt is a current or former member of the American Plains Artists, Oil Painters of America and has exhibited in the Museum of Western Art.
In “Closed for Winter”, Scheidt delivers a riveting landscape that depicts the isolated life of the Native Americans during the winter months. Snow brings a renewed sense of survival, a man vs. nature attitude juxtaposed by a harmony with the natural environment. Scheidt’s skyline glows with majestic auroras that are laden heavy with the never ending threat of the impending snowfall. Backlit by a fading sun, the teepee’s angular pol lines collect the fallen wintery and wet blanket, creating a cold exterior contrasted by the warm interior. Snow covered trees, a barren landscape and an exposed and naked smaller wooden armature reflect the nostalgic quality of the Wild West through a cold seasonal bliss in all its majestic glory.
Bill Scheidt's artwork is now available at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art
© Gabriel Diego Delgado
J.R. Mooney Galleries, Boerne