Changing Lanes

Categories: 2024 July-August Issue, Bronze, Dye, J. C., Oil, and Wildlife.

Wyoming sculptor and painter, J. C. Dye, says an artist needs two lifetimes: one to master the art of sculpting and painting and another to reap some rewards. As a 76-year-old who has enough experience to fill at least two lifetimes, one reward is being recognized as one of the top sculptors in the United States. He’s earning kudos for his paintings as well, something he turned to when foundries began closing, and he found himself waiting up to a year to have a sculpture cast.

Dye’s years as a rancher provided with him with intimate knowledge of the cowboy life and the West. Growing up on a ranch in Montana gave him plenty of fodder for, and understanding of, animals and cowboys. “I’m an uneducated cowboy; I’ve never had any formal training in art,” he says. But that doesn’t mean he’s without innate intelligence.

Dye taught himself to sculpt using wax, soap, wood—anything he could carve—after visiting the C.M. Russell Art Museum in Great Falls, Montana, with his third-grade class. When he found out that Russell had been a cowboy in Dye’s hometown of Stanford, Montana, the boy was sure that he and C.M. Russell were the only cowboy artists alive in the world. However, other than spending hours carving after he completed his chores, Dye never considered pursuing a career in art.

Read the full article in the July/August 2024 issue.

The Last Crossing

46.25″ by 16.25″ by 5.75″

Wind River Mountain Bull

11″ by 14″