Artists From Idaho

Oil Paint Brushes

True art can arise from any place, anywhere, from any person. Art has the capability to tell important stories and bring forth the most passionate emotions within an individual. Both artists and spectators of art have felt peace and excitement from the creativity of a masterpiece. With each artist, there is a story within their passion for art. Great artists can be found over the world. But the artists that touch us the most are the ones we can find a personal connection to.  Idaho is home to great artists that have stories of their art that can make the most profound connection.

James Castle

A silent world, a misunderstanding teacher- this is the beginning of the story that made James Castle a memorable artist. At the age of ten, Castle was sent to a boarding school for the deaf. There, they did not tolerate non-verbal communication of any kind. With no way of communicating to the outside world through speaking, reading, writing, signing, or  finger spelling, James Castle connected to the world through his artwork. He never received any formal education in artwork but rather learned through observation and mimicry.

Castle was never provided any art materials. Instead, he created most of his art by repurposing found objects such as used matchbooks, grocery cartons, twine, notebooks, calendars, and register receipts. He used scraps of he could get his hands on. Without any access to drawing instruments, Castle used stove soot mixed with spit and a sharpened stick to draw.

When he was in his adult years, Castle’s artwork was discovered by a wealthy entrepreneur. He saw the value of Castle’s artwork and paid him generously. Castle was finally able to buy his dream home. He lived there by himself and continued drawing. Even though he was then able to afford art materials, Castle stuck with his original method of creating art. He eventually married and had children. Castle lived in Idaho his whole life and drew for 70 years. Finally in 1977, he died an old and happy man.

During his life, Castle garnered local acclaim in 1963. In 1976, his artwork was displayed at the Boise Gallery of art. Decades after his death, Castle achieved international recognition.His work is now collected by the Art institute of Chicago, Boise art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Museum of American Folk Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art. It was through art that Castle was able to connect to the world while living in Idaho.

Gutzon Borglum

Gutzon Borglum was born in 1867 in St. Charles in what was then Idaho territory. At an early age, Borglum was fascinated with sculpting. This fascination led him to become talented in this art. In 1904, he won gold in the St. Louis World’s Fair. Four years later Borglum won a competition for a statue of the Civil War General Philip Sheridan.

Later in his life, Borglum sculpted figures inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and sculpted a head of Lincoln that was displayed by Roosevelt in the White House and in the Capitol Rotunda.

Despite these achievements, they pale in compare to what he is most known for. Gutzon Borglum was the designer and the head artist for the famous Mt. Rushmoor. This masterpiece attributed to great men in America helped patriotism grow in the country. Gutzon connected with the world by leaving a permanent art sculpture that millions come to visit every year.

Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen was born in Idaho Falls and grew up in Iona, Idaho. As the oldest of five children, Olsen learned at a young age the need for responsibility. Ever since he was a child, he loved to create beautiful things out of paper and color. His parents always supported his artwork even on one occasion where he spilled a pint of paint on his carpeted bedroom floor.

After high school, Olsen attended Utah State University.There, he met the love of his life, Sydnie Cazier. They are now married with six children. Olsen puts his family first and his artwork second. With an art studio close to home, Olsen is never far from the people he loves the most.

Olsen’s pieces are famous for their inspirational meanings. When asked about his passion for art Olsen said, “From an early age I have always been fascinated by paintings that create mood, emotion and atmosphere. [...] My hope is that in these images you will find something familiar, something which will resonate and remind you of what is important in your own life.”

Connecting to the world by painting artwork that can relate to everyone, Olsen’s work has the ability to evoke emotion in any who gazes upon it. Today, his artwork is sold in stores across the United States.

All of these artists have left an impression on the world. The connection they make through art brings peace and excitement for the creativity of masterpieces. Each of these artists have a story to tell. And they are able to share these important stories through their artwork. Home to Idaho, these artists have brought forth emotion within individuals in the world.

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