It’s evident from his artwork Curt Mattson knows a great deal about horses and cowboy culture. Get him talking about his subject matter and you see he’s not only knowledgeable, he’s extremely passionate – and that translates to his art.
“I grew up in the horse business,” he said. “My family was involved in horses. We showed cutting horses, reining horses, you name it, and I worked for ranches from California to Alberta. So my background is all horses.”
It was in 1979 while attending world championships in Oklahoma City that he walked into the Cowboy Hall of Fame and was bowled over by James Earl Fraser’s “End of the Trail” iconic sculpture and the paintings by Ed Borein. The heritage in horsemanship represented in those pieces sparked inspiration in Curt.
Several years would go by before he made the decision to pursue his passion for art. After receiving the proper training, Curt took his intense knowledge of horses and Western cowboy culture and began to create pieces with a keen focus on artistic integrity blended with accuracy in every detail.
“I grew up with all different types of disciplines in terms of Western, and I’m able to bring that to the work,” he said. “You should be able to tell where a cowboy is from by his gear. Your saddles, hats, all that different stuff needs to be articulated properly, but then artistically it has to be competently done. A horse from 1910 is way different than what we ride today.”
Curt believes he owes it to his collectors to deliver accurate pieces. He also believes it should tell a story and enrich the viewer’s life.
“Cowboy art is about story telling,” Curt said. “If your art isn’t talking to people, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about enriching other peoples’ lives.”
He said the Celebration of Fine Art helped him make that connection and create pieces that spark a reaction in people.
“This is our tenth year here at the Celebration,” “The idea of people coming in, they see what you’ve done and seeing the connection you make with them, and that the art speaks to them. That changed everything, because it taught me how to do pieces that are going to say something to people.”