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 John Wade Hampton  (1918 - 1999)

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Lived/Active: Arizona      Known for: Cowboy-Indian genre, sculpture, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
John Wade Hampton
from Auction House Records.
When a Cowboy Needs Room
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City and then settling in Scottsdale, Arizona, John (Johnny) Hampton became a renowned painter and sculptor of cowboy life that he grew to know first hand from living much of his life in the Southwest.

He was raised in Brooklyn and developed a love for the West from seeing Tom Mix movies. Acting out his fantasy of becoming a cowboy, he used pretended he was roping cows by using his mother's clothesline. He began illustration pulp magazines with western themes while he was in high school and at age sixteen, won a contest for sketch artists. When World War II began, he served in an Intelligence capacity in the South Pacific.

Having assisted Fred Harman with the comic strip "Red Ryder," he used the proceeds after the War to buy a small ranch near Silver City, New Mexico, in order to get a taste of the cowboy life that so intrigued him. He stayed there for twelve years before moving to Arizona where he lived in Prescott, Cave Creek, Scottsdale, Phoenix and finally in Sonoita, where he was living at the time of his death.

In 1977, John Hampton completed his first bronze and won the Gold Medal from the Cowboy Artists of America, an organization of which he was a founder and president.

Peggy and Harold Samuels, "Contemporary Western Artists"

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II:
John Wade Hampton

Painter and sculpture or the Old West, born in New York City in 1918 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona. "I loved old Tom Mix movies," he remembers. "All boys are interest in cowboys, but most of 'em outgrow it after they get practical minded?yet. I like to paint the romance of the West, not somebody getting a saddlesore or a hernia."

After practicing roping with his mother's clothesline in Brooklyn, Hampton won first prize in a rodeo sketching contest in 1935. He began illustrating Western pulp magazines while he was in high school and serves in Intelligence in World War II. On the proceeds of assisting Fred Harman in drawing the comic strip, "Red Ryder," Hampton bought a small ranch near Silver City, New Mexico, and "became a one-cow cowboy," in order to act out the life so he could draw it. The experience he gained was part of the credo of the Cowboy Artists of America helped form. He says that "it has to be a part of the recipe that to depict range life correctly, the artist had to know how to do some cowpunchin'. It's as simple as that. And this half-breed cross between an artist and a cowboy produces a cowboy-artist." After "we set the stage," he observes, "young kids, today, are making a killing in Western art."

In 1977, Hampton tried his first bronze and promptly won the gold medal at the cAA show. He now "likes doing bronzes" because he can "keep one for himself" and "the money is better than in paintings."

Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd's Inc., Washington, D.C.

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John Hampton is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Western Painters

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