Thursday, February 17, 2005
Like so many young people who move to Steamboat Springs, Duke Beardsley had an epiphany about the course of his life. He lived here for three years in the early 1990s, but he left to pursue a career in medicine.
His decision was inspired by his time with the Steamboat Ski Patrol. As he drove away from town with his belongings packed, he imagined that the next few years would be filled with a fast track pre-med program and years of medical school.
But his life was about to take a sharp turn in a different direction.
Within a year, "an intense year," Beardsley was out of med school and enrolled in the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena.
Years later, now 35 years old with a body of work and a sense of himself as an artist, Beardsley is back in Steamboat, if only in our galleries.
His subject matter is decidedly Western -- images of cowboys and horses -- but his approach is contemporary.
"I'm trying to look at traditional cowboy art from a new perspective," he said. His images are familiar, but his color schemes are not.
Beardsley grew up in Denver, but spent his summers on his family's ranch. His family members are fifth-generation Colorado natives on both sides.
"My work is my attempt to pay tribute to the way things may have been -- the Western myth or the Western icon," he said. "I want to celebrate that, but draw attention to how it is changing."