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Walt Gonske


Moranda at Holmann,
Oil, 12" x 16" ©

 

Painter, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1942 and living Taos, New Mexico since 1972. In his oils, his aim is to preserve the past by making a visual record of the old structure and scenes of the Southwest before they are destroyed. “Time hasn’t yet changed in the West as it has in the East,” he says. “The super reality is still here, and so is a new breed who appreciates it.”

After graduating from the Newark School of Fine Arts, Gonske studies with Frank Reilly, a famous illustrator, and later at the Art Students League in New York City. He then became a free-lance illustrator in New York, fulfilling commissions for top publications including Esquire, Life, Playboy, and The New Yorker.

“An illustrator’s background is great training,” he declares, “but it’s a dead end if you don’t move on. An artist grows and changes simply because he is creative. If he doesn’t, he might as well put his materials in cold storage.”

In New Mexico, “all my drawing and paintings are done in my studio, working from 35mm slides taken with a Nikon FTN camera. This gives me great depth of field. When I find what interest me on a scouting trip, I fire off the camera a hundred times. I’ll pick-out several shots for paintings and more often than not, I’ll use them pretty much as they were taken, changing composition, values, or color when necessary. I also might work from two slides, using the background from one and the center of interest from another.” Gonske is a member of the National Academy of Western Art.

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

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Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas. Site last updated January 2004.