Teal Blake - On Being Authentic & Original - Mountain & Prairie Podcast
If you love art and the American West, chances are you’re already a fan of Teal Blake. His paintings of bucking horses, working cowboys, and the Western ranching lifestyle are some of the most authentic and creative around. Teal's art is authentically Western because he’s so authentically Western—he has worked on ranches for all of his life, has ridden rodeo on the professional level, and has been making art since before he can remember. These unique life experiences, combined with a deep-seated drive to create original and striking art, meld together to make him one of the most genuine and fresh faces in Western art today.
Teal grew up in Augusta, Montana, the son of two creative parents who allowed him to roam free—fishing, hunting, and exploring the wilderness out his backdoor. During high school, he discovered his talent for bull riding and rodeo, and he pursued that passion for years, eventually competing on the professional circuit. Throughout all of his various adventures and life stages, Teal was continuously sketching and painting, and after several impressive showings at western art shows, he decided to make a go of it as a professional artist. Since then he hasn’t looked back, and his stature in the Western art world continues to grow.
We had an in-depth conversation in which we discussed Teal’s upbringing in Montana and Idaho, and how his artistic parents influenced his life and work. We chatted about his experience at art school, which ended with him flunking out, yet being the only one from his class to actually make it as a professional artist. We discuss his background in ranching and rodeo, and his process of transitioning into life as a professional artist. We also talk about the important role that external validation can play in a solitary creative endeavor such as painting. As usual, we discuss favorite books, favorite films, and his favorite place in the American West. We cover a lot in this episode, so be sure to check out the episode notes for all the topics and links to everything we discuss. Enjoy!
2:45 - How Teal describes his work
3:33 - Process of becoming a professional artist
5:00 - Teal’s childhood in Montana
7:55 - Teal’s parents and their influence on him
9:35 - Early artistic influences
11:20 - Early artistic endeavors
12:00 - Move to Idaho and rodeo beginnings
14:55 - Decision to stop riding bulls
17:40 - Teal’s experience at college art school
21:30 - Transition from rodeo to full-time artist
24:00 - Teal’s first art show
28:00 - Teal’s daily routine and artistic phases
31:05 - Ranch work and its influence on Teal’s work
35:25 - Teal’s attraction to bucking animals — painting and riding them
38:20 - Biggest changes in Teal’s art over the past 10 years
40:33 - Challenge of creating new and original work
43:00 - Thoughts on the business of professional art
48:20 - Favorite books
52:10 - Importance of being humbled
53:10 - Raising kids in the internet age
56:50 - Favorite films
58:40 - Surprising hobbies
1:01:00 - Great advice Teal has received
1:02:15 - Favorite place in the West
1:05:50 - Teal’s advice to the listeners
1:07:45 - Connect with Teal online
1:08:10 - Chappin’!!