We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Stuckey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tracy, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It’s cliché to say that “I didn’t choose an artistic career, it chose me,” but that is sort of how I would answer this question. I’m not sure I ever thought it would be a career when I was a naïve college student studying art, but I knew it was the only thing I was really interested in. As far back as I can remember, making art has always been a part of my life. Whether it was painting numbers and stripes on my dad’s racecars, drawing comics in countless notepads, or designing murals for surf shops, art was always there. I started to take it serious in the middle of college and even more so in graduate school, but again with no real thought of what I could eventually do with art. Once out of graduate school I worked for a few years as an Art Handler, getting exposed to the “business side” of artmaking. I learned how galleries and museums operated. I got to meet working artists, see their studios, and understand how they made a living. A couple of years later, I was teaching as an adjunct and working as a gallery preparator just into my 30’s. I decided it was time to really try and put myself out there and see if I could make a career out of being an artist. Otherwise, it seemed like it was time to pursue a more “serious” or “sustainable” career. Luckily things started to happen for me, I was picked up by a respected gallery in Philadelphia and my artwork started to gain exposure and traction. I started having successful exhibitions, getting reviewed in publications, and picking up a couple of important collectors. Just as my family and I were moving to Colorado, I got picked up by another great gallery in Denver and that is when I began to have even more success which continues to this day. I am fortunate to work with two fantastic galleries and that my family and friends have always been very supportive. I still can’t say that I think of making art as a “career” the youthful punk in me equates “career” with “not fun,” so I have to say that I’m very lucky that I “get” to make art for a living.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am primarily a painter, but I also do drawings. My work is figurative and focuses on the American West and all its characters. I am interested in the histories and archetypes that have been created in and about this region. And I am interested in how those ideas continue to influence people and culture today. My work can sometimes be satirical or irreverent towards the romanticized West, but it can also pay homage to the iconic Western genre.

I grew up out east in Florida and I didn’t start making this type of work until I was in my early 30’s after living in New Mexico for five years. I think my ability to look at the West as an outsider has helped me to establish this way working. I still try to maintain that outsider’s viewpoint even as I continue to live and work in the West.

I got to where I am with equal parts of hard work and luck. I love painting, and I love being an artist. I love making paintings and telling stories with images. I am in the studio as much as I possibly can. As an artist you must continually put yourself and your work out there for everyone to see, it has taken me a long time and with a lot of persistence. I think you have to really love making art and you have to continually challenge and motivate yourself.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Fort Collins, so I would probably take them to a few of the local breweries to get started. We often take visitors up to Horsetooth Reservoir to kayak or paddleboard. The Poudre canyon is pretty spectacular all year long, in the warmer seasons we could do some camping, hiking and maybe swimming in the Poudre river. The Mishawaka is always a great stop, especially out on the patio. I would also have to take them to down to Denver and spend a few days checking out all that there is to offer. The Denver Art Museum and the MCA are “must see’s” and we would have to stop by Visions West Contemporary (the gallery I am represented by) to see what is showing. There are a lot of other great art galleries in Denver that are worth checking out as well. I don’t spend enough time in Denver to know all the great places to eat, I am mostly in the Rino District, and I like Cart Driver for amazing pizza, Rye Society for a good sandwich, or the Denver Central Market for a variety of great food. Colorado has so much to offer, I have lived here for nine years, but feel like we have just barely scratched the surface.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It’s hard to narrow it down, I have had so many wonderful teachers and mentors in my life, but I would have to say that my family and friends deserve a lot of the credit, especially my amazing wife Erika. She is an artist as well, so she understands the demands and peculiarities of being an artist. She has always been incredibly supportive of all my endeavors and she pushes me to be the very best that I can be. I wouldn’t be where I am with out her in my life.

Website: http://tracystuckey.com

Instagram: tracystuckey

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