A work of art: Montana man depicts an ‘honest’ real life through western artwork

Young area artist David Graham of Prairie County grew up in Miles City. All his life he was exposed to the Wild West and the cowboy lifestyle.

By SHERRY VOGEL

Staff Writer

Young area artist David Graham of Prairie County grew up in Miles City. All his life he was exposed to the Wild West and the cowboy lifestyle.

It wasn’t until he was a senior at Fort Benton High School that this self learned artist got introduced to the art of painting.

“The class I took my senior year basically taught me the basics about paint and how to clean brushes, ” he shared.

But it did much more, sparking in him a keen interest to replicate real life in an honest way.

One would never know from studying his work that he isn’t a graduate of one of the nation’s leading fine art schools.

Graham medium is oil; his subject matter is Western art as depicted in the cowboy lifestyle and portrayed in the Native American culture.

He displayed his artwork at Products of the Prairie market place in Baker, Mont., in early September.

Graham had on display a collection of prints, from his original oil paintings, that made each market goer step back to contemplate weather he was selling photography or replicas of paintings. The lighting in many of the prints was so vivid that one believed only natural lighting could be portrayed in such a manner.

A wonderful print from a painting of an Oglala Sioux girl, wearing a red buckskin dress, from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota captured my eye. The piece was titled Prairie Flower.

Graham shared the story behind the subject. He is invited to attend the Artist’s Ride event, that takes place each summer at the Pine Ridge Reservation, where artists and photojournalists are allowed to take pictures of the Native American residents who are dressed in full costume for the occasion. He takes numerous photos there, later illustrating them in oils once he gets back home to his studio.

That particular painting was sold at auction at the Western Art Week in the CM Russell Art Museum in Great Falls, Mont., in March 2015. The winning bid was $3,000.

Young Graham, the self taught artist is coming into his own. He now sells his paintings in three of the top venues in the west: Jackson Hole, Wyo., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Tucson, Ariz. His paintings fetch prices ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000.

      



GAMES