Born in Skull Valley, Arizona to a ranching and rodeo family, Paul Crites moved to Ellensburg Washington when he was four years old. As early as he can remember, Crites always had a pencil in his hand demonstrating a keen interest in creating art. A key factor in his decision to become a professional artist was his childhood acquaintance with cowboy artist, Bill Swan, a family friend. During his teen years, Crites' talents blossomed and his commitment to art led him to enroll in the Famous Artist School, Inc. in Westport Connecticut.
In the highly competitive world of professional art, Crites has enjoyed a diverse and successful career spanning more than 30 years. Beginning as a freelance cartoonist (620Kb image
), he contributed to more than twenty national western publications, including Western Horseman and Rodeo Sports News. In 1969 and continuing through the mid- 70's, he expanded the scope of his work producing gallery pieces-watercolors as well as pen and inks. Changing focus in 1974, Crites began sculpting. His first piece was cast in 1975.
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Crites' critically acclaimed sculptures are one-of-a-kind, individually created works of art which he primarily makes in limited editions of five to ten. Simple variations-changing the expression, the age of the face, or modifying the position of the subject-result in each piece being unique to the rest of the edition. Drawing upon his experiences as a cattle rancher and rodeo hand, Crites originates western pieces renowned for their authenticity in conveying the inner spirit of the man and horse.
In 1993, Crites was selected for the fourth year in a row, to be one of three artists/collectors from across the United States to jury the annual Professional Rodeo Cowboy Artists Association (PRCCA) Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Crites validates his dedication to art in each of his sculptures. Feeling strongly about protecting the quality and ensuring the credibility and integrity of his sculptures, Crites personally performs the work on every piece-from conceptualization to the final casting at the foundry. Crites' commissioned work includes sculptures for the National Cattlemans Association, Rainier National Bank, American Herford Association, Washington State Cattle Association,Hamilton Watch Company, Rodeo Association, Wycliff Bible Inc. and the Oregon Vietnam Vets Memorial. Crites has won over thirty awards for his art at the national shows including the National Western Art Exhibit & Auction, FrankTenny Johnson Memorial, National Western Wildlife Show, and Oregon Trail National.
Public, private, and corporate collectors throughout the United States as well as abroad have continued to accumulate and display Crites' work. A few of the shows at which he has displayed work include the C.M. Russell Show, Sculptured in the Park, and the George Phippen Memorial Art Show. Crites' art has been accepted into juried shows, including the prestigious Salmagundi Club National Open, Hudson, River Valley National, North American Sculpture Exhibit, and the Knickerbocker Annual National Open.
Crites is a founding member of the Cowboy Cartoonists International. Other memberships include the Magazine Cartoonist Guild of New York, the Western Art Association Artists (having served on the board for over 20 years), and the Clymer Museum Board of Trustees. In addition, he has served as an artist advisor and art consultant to many shows and exhibits; and has taught and lectured at many schools and organizations on the "Making of a Bronze".
Paul Crites has blended his love of cowboying with his commitment to his art in a unique style which, for decades to come, will continue to enrich the art world.
For more information, please visit his website at http://www.paulcrites.com
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