The Cowboy Artists of America inducts Chad Poppleton during Cowboy Crossings opening weekend.
Prior to the October 6 opening of the Cowboy Crossings exhibition at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma, the Cowboy Artists of America quietly met for an annual member meeting in one of the museum’s halls. In addition to CAA business, the group also viewed artwork and voted on new members. This year one artist made the cut, Utah painter Chad Poppleton.
“I don’t know how else to really say it, but I was blown away,” says Poppleton. “I’ve known the CAS since I was a little kid. I always wanted to be a CA— it was a childhood dream.”
Poppleton, who is primarily a wildlife painter who also paints cowboy subject matter, will be the most prominent wildlife artist in the group. During the interview process, the painter says, he was asked if he would change what he painted if he was accepted into the fold. He respectively declined, saying that he felt both wildlife and cowboys were important to him as an artist. Based on Poppleton’s inclusions in the CA, the answer must have pleased the members, each of whom represents Western art in their own unique way.
“As a wildlife artist I never felt I had a chance, but I was going to go for it anyway because I respect these guys so much,” he says, adding that several CA members are dear friends. “I look up to them so much. I’ve known Jason Rich since I was in college and we’re really good friends. I look up to Jim Norton as a fatherly figure. And people like Grant Redden and Michael Dudash are great friends and mentors. I was shocked when I was asked to join them.”
Poppleton, who lives in Logan, Utah, grew up on a ranch and dairy farm, and today still maintains a herd of quarter horses for breeding. He’s also accomplished in the saddle with plenty of time spent rounding up horses and cattle—even his children compete in rodeo events.
“Getting in the CA was the easy part. Now I have to kick my work up a notch,” he says, adding that he is looking forward to serving with the other members. “After I was made a member they threw me into a board meeting and let me tell you I was really blown away—these are good men, impressive men, and it’s humbling to be in their company.”
Chad Poppleton, The Vision—charles Marion Russell, oil, 36 x 48"
Chad Poppleton, Happy Hour, oil, 30 x 48"