Curt Mattson

(1956 - present)


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Curt Mattson

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To my mind there is no more grand a subject than the Buckaroo, his horse, and the life that they live in the great American West. The opportunities artistically and from an historical standpoint are limitless.

“The goal of any art should be to communicate, to carry on a conversation between the viewer and the piece of art that is being looked at. What I desire for the art I create is a piece that is compelling to the viewer and artistically challenging, a piece that will capture the viewers’ attention and not let them go.”

It is what he brings to the table as an artist that allows Mattson to accomplish these goals. Born in California, his family was heavily involved in training and showing horses. Curt learned to ride and train everything from cutting and reining horses, to pleasure horses, while working on ranches throughout the West. He was fortunate to learn how to make good horses in the tradition of the Buckaroo. To bring them up slowly with soft mouths and well trained. It is a tradition and heritage that he values and is blessed to be a part of.

Curt rode for ranches from California to Alberta, Canada. It was in Alberta that he met the woman that would later become his wife. They worked together on a small horse ranch there, and then curt went back to Oregon. It would take some time, but 10 years later the pieces fell together. On November 10th, 1990 Curt married Wendy Gaastra, together they live in Arizona.

Curt’s grandfather was an excellent horseman and craftsman, building saddles, bits and braiding reins and bosals. He taught Curt how to build saddles and encouraged Curt to pursue sculpture, to tell the stores of the buckaroo. Around this time Curt ran across a photos in Southwest Art of a sculpture by Grant Speed called “outlaws and Twisters”. This piece captivated Curt and he still has the page from the magazine. It was then that he started thinking along the lines of trying his hands a sculpture.

Ranch work is a 24/7 job and left Curt no time to work on his art. However, Curt’s parents were supportive of his endeavors, and put him to work in the family business so he could study art. Curt started sculpting in 1983 and became a full time sculptor in 1988.

At an art show two months after leaving the ranch he met a Cowboy Artist of America member, Mehl Lawson, who generously took Curt under his wing and taught him from the ground up. Curt continued to learn from some of the top sculptors in the country by attending workshops with Fritz White, Herb Mignery, and Richard MacDonald, to name a few. While living in Prescott Az, Curt’s intensive training continued with Cowboy Artist of America member Pat Hamptonstall. Many hours were spent under Pat’s tutelage honing Curt’s abilities even further. These sculptors encouraged Curt and gave generously to his artistic growth through their time and critique.

“It is vitally important to me that what I create be first and foremost good art. My desire is that my work be historically accurate and artistically important. It is a hard line to draw at times, for accuracy is as important, but an accurate statement that is poorly composed and modeled defeats the purpose of the creation. It must have both of these components to be successful. And in the end it must speak to others. Art must be about others and bringing them into a world that they love and admire. To do otherwise is meaningless.”

Curt’s life with horses is in the grounding and inspiration for what he creates. To be an artist is the greatest of gifts in his eyes, and he is blessed to be able to share it with others. “There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank the Lord for allowing me to create art.”

I create to bring to the world something that will encourage, excite and bring hope. It is to shed light into the lives of others. Light brings hope. The pieces I create allow me to share this passion with others. Any creation is void of true meaning unless it is born of a sincere love for the subject and the art form in which it is expressed. “My desire is to allow the viewer to enter the world of the Buckaroo”.