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Art Kober - Cachet Maker Biography
by Art Kober
As a child growing up in Wisconsin, two things intrigued me – art and the history of the early West. My view of the West initially was that depicted in movies. As years went by, I began studying the subject, searching for factual information and at the same time, pursuing my art taking whatever classes I could through high school. Then came 1950, military service and Korea. After serving three years in the Army, I attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, but the school’s focus was more toward abstract and advertising and not the realism I wanted, so after eight months I left. Then followed a series of jobs to support my wife, Patricia, and the family that was soon to grow to include five children. In 1968 I formed my own insulation company, and for the next fifteen years, with the help of Pat and the kids, the business grew. During this time I studied and taught myself more about my art, drawing, painting, sculpting in my spare time, and doing as many art shows (sometimes 20 to 25 a year) as time allowed. Then as now, some of the artists that inspired me through their work were John Clymer, Frank McCarthy and Tom Lovell – al1 realists and historical painters.
When the time was right, I was able to focus full time on my art, and the business was sold to my oldest son. I had worked a couple of times a year on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, and Pat and I had spent vacations in the Rocky Mountain region, so we decided to move to Fort Collins, Colorado. Now, doing Western and Wildlife art shows, having commissioned work, and being in several galleries, I have a fair amount of exposure, so when John Weaver approached me in 1989 about doing hand-painted first day covers, I was a little apprehensive, but the challenge got the best of me.
Along the way, my paintings have included seascapes and landscapes, but primarily wildlife and early West, and because I paint what is known as realism, there was always research to be done. These factors all seem to come into play when doing FDC’s along with the chance to paint a wide range of subjects, but the Western and wildlife will always be closest to my heart.
I now work in oils and acrylics for my larger pieces. My covers are in acrylics as this medium lends itself very nicely to doing covers. I’ve also worked in pencil and colored pencil, and plan to do some covers in this medium. I try to get some historical fact or information into some of my covers, or to put in some subtle personal detail for my collectors. In some cases the research has been as enjoyable as doing the covers. Of course, there is also the challenge of creating a cover that will appeal to a large number of people. I have to admit the feedback from the dealers and collectors has been very satisfying! I thank each one for their time and comments!
Most of my covers take about three to five hours, from applying the layout to finished cover. I don’t keep track of time on my research, as, in most cases, this is a learning process. Also, working up a layout can vary so much in time that if I included the costs of that time it would be ridiculous! Although some covers are more difficult than others, I guess the most challenging was the first one (Crazyhorse). Because it was the first, I wasn’t sure I could repeat the same painting a number of times. 'As for a favorite, I honestly don’t have just one. In my larger paintings, there is often something I wish I had done differently. That’s why, with a number of covers I have two or more different layouts and finished covers before deciding on the one to produce, and of course, the one that comes out really well is the one that satisfies my intent. Without a doubt, those with a Western or wildlife theme are my first preference.
I enjoy many aspects of doing covers, but most of all, as with my paintings, it all comes down to people. I’ve met some of the collectors, dealers and artists, and look forward to meeting more of you. There are always people to thank for their help and encouragement. Among the many are John and Freda Weaver, Don Reinke and, of course, my Pat, who has had to put up with an artist for all these many years.
I hope my covers will be profitable for all of you, but most of all, enjoy! Take Care!
Giclee Prints on Canvas -- Available framed or unframed
A wide variety of subject, and detail to authenticity best describe Art's HPFDC work