|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Ken Carlson, like many of his contemporaries, began his career in art
as a commercial artist. He says, "I can't remember a time when I didn't
dream of being an artist. That's all I ever wanted to be. Birds and
animals were all I ever wanted to paint." He entered a "Draw Me"
contest at the age of fifteen, won and took advantage of the prize, a
two-year scholarship to the Art Instruction School in Minneapolis.|
says his interest in natural subjects began early in his Minnesota
childhood and has continued with total dedication to learning and
painting nature. While Carlson lived in Minnesota and then in
California, he spent more than three decades as a free-lance
illustrator. During that time, every free moment was spent painting,
studying, sketching and photographing wildlife subjects. He was able to
build a reputation through participation in fund raising for
conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited.
paint representational art pushed him toward a full-time career as a
wildlife artist. Carlson cites 1969 as a turning point in his career.
He presented six large game paintings at a major conservation
foundation conference and not one sold. He observed that tight
renderings of bird illustrations did sell and from that idea, he
compiled a portfolio of fifty portraits, later published by MacMillan
in a book titled Birds of Western North America.
painting venture did not represent the painting style that challenged
him nor did it represent Carlson's true aspirations. A realistic style
of painting had always been Carlson's chosen form of expression. By
1972, with firm determination, he had totally dedicated his career to
evolving a painting style that would come from within. A move to the
Rocky Mountains in Montana, and then to the Texas Hill Country, is
where he finds the landscapes and inspirations for many of his
His work is included in the collections of the
National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming; Genesee County
Museum, Rochester, New York; and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in
Carlson is noted for his classic
animal-in-its-habitat pieces, purity of light, an emphasis on form and
character, mood and a sense of place. There is a strong narrative
element to Carlson's work and his paintings tell an emotional story.
Source: Thomas Nygard Gallery
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born and raised in Morton, along the banks of the Minnesota River in
southwestern Minnesota, Ken Carlson developed an early affinity for the
wildlife that he so skillfully paints as a mature artist. |
took his early art training with Walter Wilderding, head of the Art
Instruction School in Minneapolis, and after high school graduation,
moved to Minneapolis where he attended the Minneapolis School of Art
and also did illustration work for a local TV station and a newspaper.
He spent evenings at the zoo studying the animals, and the director
gave him a key so he could roam at will. However, he was attacked by a
bull elk, which sent him to the hospital, and later in Alaska, he was
charged by a bull moose.
In 1972, he illustrated a coffee-table
book on North American birds, and two years later had his first one-man
show of bird paintings in New York. But he found he was more successful
with the large animals such as moose, bears, bull elk, caribou, and
He and his wife, Mary Lea, lived for a period in
California, then in Montana, and then settled in Kerrville, Texas whose
charms he discovered on a turkey hunt. He spends his days studying and
painting big game animals and also does woodworking.
to saving wildlife in their habitats, he was named the "Living Legend
for Wildlife Art" in 1998 by the Foundation for North American Wild
Sheep. His work with that organization began in the 1980s when he
created posters for their fund raising, which is used for research
centers and game departments.
|Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I:|
Born August 12, 1937
In Morton, Minnesota
Resides in Kerrville, Texas
Ken Carlson says his passion for the outdoor world began while growing up in small Minnesota river town. As a young boy, his nature experiences were limited to small creatures found in the nearby overgrown granite quarry, the surrounding fields, and along the river-banks. His exposure to the world of art was through textbooks and magazines.
The earnings from his first after-school jobs were used to buy art supplies. Teachers encouraged him in his artistic abilities and by the age of 15, he was taking private art instruction. At the first opportunity, Carlson traveled to the Black Hills in South Dakota and to several national parks in Wyoming and Colorado to see and photograph big game animals. His interest in animals and art meshed and grew into a consuming lifelong vocation involving the study of animals in their environment.
A critical element of Carlson’s work is first-hand observation. Every fall, he travels to Alaska, the Western prairies, or the Canadian Rockies to find his animal subjects when they are in full coat and prime physical condition.
In 1996, Collector’s Covey of Dallas, Texas, published the book, "From the Tundra To Texas: The Art of Ken Carlson. Included are more than 100 paintings and sketches, with text provided by author Tom Davis, who described Carlson’s work as “an eloquent testimony to the fact he has transcended the boundaries of genre painting.” In a 1999 publication by Collector’s Covey titled "Texas Brushstrokes", Carlson’s work is profiled with 12 of his major pieces.
In 2001, he was the recipient of the inaugural Major General and Mrs. Don Pittman Wildlife Award for exceptional artistic merit for a wildlife painting. Carlson was also the 1999 winner of the prestigious Frederic Remington Award for artistic merit.
Carlson has been profiled in Wildlife Art, Southwest Art, Art of the West, Sporting Classics, Field & Stream and Sports Afield.
ReSources include: 2003 Prix de West Invitational Exhibition
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|