We had the good fortune of connecting with Jody Buck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jody, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I am probably a little more relaxed in terms of work balance. I find that simply putting the highest priority task first and taking things one step at a time from there is my best strategy. Our cattle ranch is our livelihood, so the cattle work comes first. There is nothing quite like working together as a family, outdoors (sometimes during extreme weather conditions), doing physical labor being stewards of our land and livestock. It is very gratifying if not always financially rewarding! My art is a wonderful counter balance to the ranch work. I am indoors in my beloved studio, working by myself, following my creative whims or artistic deadlines. I love having several “to do” items on my list so that I have direction and purpose. Together between ranch work and artistic projects, I find that I am blessed to have a perfect/imperfect balance that fits me to a T.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I may be a bit unique in that I am primarily a cattle rancher by occupation, heritage, and love. Our family has been in the ranching business for over 6 generations. I always say that my art is what I do when the cattle work is done! My art is primarily mixed media with a natural gravitation towards bright colors, imperfection, vintage ephemera, and happy art. I don’t know how else to describe my work! It is organic with a nod towards uplifting imagery, patterns, textures, and color. I think my art is different in that it is not perfect but rather imperfectly joyful and playful. What may also set it apart is that I try to incorporate vintage papers and ephemera into the piece adding another dimension to the “story” of the piece. I am always excited to discover a new technique or idea when creating. My studio may be a hot mess, but it is a fun playground! My art profession evolved gradually from what I have learned taking classes; from people who are interested in my classes or art; and from fresh, current design and artistry I discover. It really didn’t ever seem to be a challenge, but rather just a natural evolvement. I think in the past year there have been challenges due to Covid restrictions on taking and teaching in person classes, but I ramped up taking online classes and continued to create and learn. As a result, I was rather prolific in creating a lot of stuff – mostly art journal and collage papers and such – instead of multiple paintings on canvas. With these productions I will build on and develop future art pieces.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh boy! I love our hometown and corner of Colorado! Wray is an All-American City and fits the bill perfectly. It is a charming, progressive little town, that embraces its western past and fits the needs and interests of all ages. I will describe some of its best points, highlights, traditions, and charms. Nestled in the Republican River Valley, Wray has a river running through it which is very unique for the arid climate of the eastern Colorado prairie. It is snuggled in the valley surrounded by dramatic sandstone cliffs. Agriculture is the primary industry here. The town is in the center of some of the most productive farm ground and sprawling ranches in the state. I would tour a new visitor around the town, pointing out our new state-of-the-art school complex, our tri state hospital where surgeries, baby deliveries, and an in house medical residence program provides so many medical services for the town and surrounding community. Then we would cruise by our child care center, community library, and recreational center which are also state-of-the-art facilities providing services for the young and old in educational and physical resources. Our main street is home to 2 coffee shops, amazing restaurants, office space, gift shops, etc. Canyon Coffee and LaLa’s Bakery are great spots for a cup of coffee or cappuccino, desserts, or a light lunch. 4th and Main is well known throughout eastern Colorado for a wide array of selections on their menu from prime beef, to Mexican, Italian and homemade pasta, salads, and unique dishes. Downstairs in 4th and Main is home to a soon to open micro brewery and also the Listening Room which hosts well known folk and country music artists for small, intimate concerts. Wray has many wonderful, small town celebrations and traditions – a notoriously known high school wrestling program, world famous bird watching and tours of the Prairie Chickens in April, a quilt festival in June, Wray Daze – a weekend celebration the last weekend of July featuring a parade, barbecue, the best “Fun Night” in the state of Colorado, and many contests and fun, the Yuma County Fair, fall football season with Friday Night Lights set in the dramatic backdrop of the cliffs surrounding the football field, a fall pumpkin festival, Christmas Lights Parade, and Santa arrival. It truly is an All American town with so much to offer and wonderful citizens and amenities.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband Rex for encouraging me and cheering me on in my artistic endeavors. To all the artist teachers I have had who sparked in me new ideas and techniques, humor, and motivation. To the people and students who have taken classes under me – and who have taught me so much! And to all those friends and unknown acquaintances who like my art!
Jody Buck Baylor Buck