To understand Thomas Blackshear II’s segue into Western art, you need to understand his storied career. It seems that the Colorado artist never does anything halfheartedly, nor does he redo the tried and true. In fact, he likes to take what other artists are rendering and tweak it to show viewers something they recognize, but he does so from an innovative perspective. Blackshear likens his work to rappers who take old music and give it a new slant.
Relatively new to the Western art genre, Blackshear hit the scene about three years ago. “I’ve had a long and varied career,” he says. “I’ve been at this for a long time, forty-some years. I knew I eventually wanted to get into this [Western] market, but I took a detour early on.”
What does he do that is different? Western Nouveau. The style is unique to Blackshear, and it’s based on the Golden Age of Illustration and his personal favorite: Art Nouveau. This ornamental style of art flourished in Europe and the United States between 1890 and 1910. It’s distinguished by long, sinuous, organic lines, often used in architecture, interior design, jewelry and glass design, posters, and illustration. Blackshear applies the style to his Western art, giving it a contemporary yet traditionally nouveau slant.
48” by 48”
“This is one of my best examples of a Western Nouveau decorative painting using gold leaf.”
40” by 31”
“This painting is just a snapshot of a cowboy taking a break before he gets back to work.”