A tribute to my father:the Artist, he died at a young age born 1900 died 1953 loved horses very talented
Born 1900 died 1953.
Everyone knew him as Bud. The first American born of a large immigrant family in Northern Minnesota, he left school after the sixth grade and ventured out on his own. Like so many of the day, worked at various things. I recall seeing a picture of him on a railroad handcar.
At one time he worked in vaudeville theaters “between the acts” with “chalk talk. He would be on stage with a blackboard and ask the audience to call out letters of numbers., then write these on the board and make pictures of the letters.
Since I was only 16 when he died and he mostly worked nights when I grew up I did not know much about his early life. I recall that when we got our first TV he would comment about some performer. At the time I didn’t think it was much different than if I might say-there’s James Garner. It never occurred to me that he might actually have known some of those people.
Bud was noted for his sense of humor. It was a dry humor when it came to remarks of stories, but he also loved practical jokes. My mother, by the way, probably didn’t appreciate either. Dad often played pranks on his sister-in-law. One I remember was on a Christmas Eve. We went to my aunt and Uncles place for the evening.
It was wartime and cigarettes were rationed and both my dad and aunt were smokers. Dad prepared a box that was, first of all, grubby with dust and dirt. He took a pack of cigarettes and attached them to the bottom of the box with numerous nails. He also took some home made candy called “divinity candy” and spread it on the bottom of the dirty box. When my aunt opened the box her reaction was—she wasn’t going to remove the nails until she was sure there were actually cigarettes in the package.
His humor showed in some of his art. In the 1920’s he published a comic strip in the Elk River, Minnesota newspaper.
When I grew up he was a Photo Engraver, a trade many people are unaware of. In the days before offset printing a photo engraver prepared pictures for printing. This consisted of burning the images onto metal plates with chemicals. It was an art related trade and he was active in the union. He always wanted to start his own shop but it was cut short by his death.
Dad was involved with a variety of art but his favorite project was horses. Horses fascinated him. We went to rodeos, horse shows and western movies. Anyplace with horses. He made horse statues and always making new ones with different characteristics. Some times the manes and tails were made from real horsehair, which he collected at horse shows.
He started by sculpting in clay. He made molds of the separate parts—legs, base, body and ears. Also tails when he didn’t use horsehair. Most of the parts were made in half mold and merged together later. In the beginning the molds, as well as the horses, were made of plaster of Paris. Later he experimented with latex and other materials for molds. I did get in on casting some of the parts. Horses ears were often cast in lead as plaster tended to break.
He painted them with oil paints.
In many instances he gave the horses saddles and bridles. The cantle, I recall was cast in plaster. Most of the rest was mostly cut from leather, which he hand tooled
An advertising agency was looking for someone to design make some figurines for some advertising campaigns. Someone referred them to Dad and we got involved in producing these in the basement. It might have become a second career for dad but he didn’t live long enough to complete the contracts. My older brother helped to complete some of it.
Hubber Peggy W encouraged me to write about my father. I've put it off because the original pictures are unavailable to me at the moment and these are somewhat lesser quality. However, to ever get anything done we sometimes have to make do with what we have instead of waiting for the ideal. I will add or substitute pictures here when they are available.
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