Saturday, October 23, 2010
March 30, 2010
Dear Governor Hoeven,
I’m writing to support the nomination of artist, James Rosenquist for the Rough Rider Award this year. He is native to North Dakota and has become one of the most prominent American artists of the past sixty years. I believe he is a superb example of the best of North Dakota. He has remained in touch with this area, and in fact, he has generously supported my growth as an artist.
I first met James Rosenquist in 2005 at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. James was in town to receive his honorary doctorate degree from North Dakota State University. I was introduced to by my friend, Rusty Freeman, who was the curator at the Plains Art Museum. Mr. Rosenquist and I were talking about art in New York City and I told him I was an artist. Out of curiosity, James wanted to come over to my studio and see my artwork. James and I walked over to my small live-in studio right in the middle of his own party. My studio, at the time, wasn’t much at all. It was converted into a studio from an efficiency apartment. When James walked in, he looked at my color pencil drawings and painting and he really took a great interest in my artwork, especially my paintings.
2005 was the year I started to explore painting but due to the great cost, I was limited to a few tubes of paint and some in-expensive pre-stretched canvas. I would often dig in the garbage cans in the back of the NDSU Art Department for something to paint on even if it was cardboard. James Rosenquist saw great potential in my newly formed paintings. He also bought a small painting from me that first evening we met. Before he left my studio, that evening, I told him I wasn’t doing very well with my art career as I was struggling financially. At the time, I didn’t know who he was or his history as a pop artist. Mr. Rosenquist told me has was once in my shoes and that we all have to start somewhere. He told me not to give up and to work hard. After talking to James, my self-esteem greatly increased as a person and as an artist.
One month later, James sent me two rolls of acrylic primed canvas, a box of top quality oil paints and one thousand dollars to get my painting career started. Later that year, James sent me six large boxes of acrylic paint and another thousand dollars for more art supplies where he instructed me on what supplies to buy. In early 2006, I started to paint full-time, but due to the lack of experience I started out slow. James encouraged me during this touch time and I eventually started to learn as time went on. Later in 2007, James purchased three paintings from me and he kept in contact for updates on my progress. I have now completed ten large paintings and another painting in which James has already purchased. He has been showing my paintings to potential art collectors and art galleries in New York City with hopes of an exhibition of my work. James has not only financially supported my art career, he has given me hope and helped me build experience. Each time I receive a call, email or letter from James, I feel a boost in my confidence as an artist with his willingness to share his knowledge with me. I am grateful and honored to have met him and have him as my mentor.
James Rosenquist is a very important figure in North Dakota and has gained national recognition for his accomplishments in art. I hope that the state of North Dakota will honor his achievements by awarding him the Rough Rider Award when he is in Fargo to unveil his mural at the Plains Art Museum this October. Thank you for your consideration.
Star Wallowing Bull