Yearly Quest for Inspiration


It was sometime around 2013 that I started getting interested in fine leather work. I knew that by doing a couple of quick searches that somebody out there was making really nice western leather work. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the TCAA(Traditional Cowboy Arts Association) that I finally connected the work I’d seen to the artists creating it. Additionally, I found out the TCAA was a group of the finest western craftsmen in the world who display their work annually at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Muesuem in Oklahoma City. To my surprise the show was also partnered with the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA), an organization of the finest western painters and sculptors who also display pieces during the event. That event is called Cowboy Crossings and every October I make a trek to Oklahoma to soak in their work for inspiration. The event is open to the public and I highly recommend it if you’re an artist, collector, or someone who enjoys western art. 

Over the last few years I’ve become friends with several of the artists. It is always refreshing to have a conversation with them about their work. After all, most of them have been pursuing their career for more than 30 years, something to aspire towards. After listening to their philosophy on high end work I started to understand the importance of keeping it alive. Guy's like Cary Schwarz, Troy West, Jason Scull, and Rick Bean have all spent time with me discussing their work and what it takes to become an artist.

I wanted to make a shift in my own work, focusing more on traditional techniques that have since been replaced by machines. A true artisan can use hand tools to create stunning pieces that no machine can accomplish. It's these principles that make up the foundation of my process, a tedious one yes but, it's very satisfying to know you're among a very small list of craftsman who share the same values.

The experience I have when viewing this show every year is essentially the driving force behind my body of work. I wanted to share a photo gallery with you of past shows to give you an idea of my inspiration. You can get more information about the event and organizations below.

Cowboy Crossings Info

Traditional Cowboy Arts Association

Cowboy Artists of America

Thanks for reading,

Clint Wilkinson