Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rick Jackson

He grew up in Jack County, as a country boy who rode horses and worked with cattle.
In 1980, Rick Jackson began working in bronze and the one-time oil field worker has parlayed his love of the west into one of the most recognized western sculptors in the country.
“I grew up north of Jacksboro, in the Squaw Mountain area,” he says from his home in Mineral Wells.
Jackson graduated from Jacksboro High School in 1967 and drove trucks for oil companies. In 1980, he wanted to make gifts for his friends and it started his career in art.
“It was sort of an accident,” he says.
There was a foundry near Springtown where he stopped in and inquired as to what it would take.
“My first piece was Old Buck. I sculpted on it for a year. I cast three or four and gave them as gifts.
“Then I did an Indian.”
A friend of his suggested it was good enough to send to the Texas Art Gallery in Dallas.
“They might handle your work he told me,” Jackson recalls.
He says that a couple of weeks after he sent the piece he worked up the courage to call the gallery to see if they were interested in carrying his work.
“The girl said, ‘If there’s anything to do for a living besides sculpting, you ought to do it,’” he says of her response.
Jackson says it bothered him and it gave him the incentive to stick with it and improve his work.
“In 10 years she called a friend of mine who told me she was interested in carrying my work,” he recalls with a smile. “I told him I didn’t have time to put anything in galleries.”
Up until 1990, his target was horse and cattle people. But that year he married Judy and his focus shifted to other areas of sculpting – more artistic. Which resulted in being invited to more shows.
“Nearly al my commission work is non-western,” he says.
He recently completed a tiger for Jacksboro High School and has also done work for the city of Abilene and pieces for a college and religious sculptures for the Lovers Lane Methodist Church in Dallas.
But his first love was and remains western art.
“That’s what I’m known for – western art,” he says.
“I’ve been real lucky – at the right place at the right time,” he reflects. “There’s probably no such thing as one big break. It’s all those little breaks along the way.
“One day you figure out maybe people know who you are,” he adds. “I’ve made a lot of good friends in 30 years of this.”
Jackson can be reached at 940-325-6355, 940-682-1272 or e-mail

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eye opener

My wife and I were fortunate enough to be invited as extras for the film “The Legend of Hell’s Gate: An American Conspiracy” in Granbury Sunday.
It was an eye-opening experience to say the least.
First, one sometimes hears about the arrogance of those in the movie business. I can’t speak about others, but this group of people, from the producers, directors, cast, crew, extras – everyone – was extremely nice at all times. They treated everyone with friendliness, courtesy and professionalism. It didn’t matter that we were there only for one day, it didn’t matter that we weren’t professional actors, just a couple of locals that were invited to join. It made an extremely long day much more bearable.
We arrived at 8 a.m. and waited and waited and waited. Finally we were sent to wardrobe where we waited and waited and waited. Once it was our turn, it only took a few minutes as those handing out costumes knew where everything was and what was needed.
From there, we headed to the set. There were minutes of filming followed by hours of waiting for our next scene. It wasn’t that the crew was disorganized, it was that it took so much time to set up shots – lights, reflectors, the director’s instructions, a rehearsal or two, adjustments – getting everything just right.
Then there would be more than one take and everyone went back to the start and did it all again – perhaps three or four times. A lot like taking photos for the newspaper – an insurance shot to make sure they got the right angles and the best action.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about the day was the fact that the scenes were not shot in the same sequence they would likely be shown on the screen. A piece here, another there, then go back and do another scene. It changes one’s perspective on what it takes to make a movie and the reason they are so expensive.
Tanner Beard, who wrote the script, has a role in and directs the movie, never raised his voice and never lost his cool while all around him there appeared to be chaos as assistant directors called for this scene or that or went to prepare for the next one.
Next will come the editing. The music, sound and putting the pieces into a cohesive and complete motion picture. That will take several months.
It was interesting, it was in many ways a lot of fun, but it was a 10-plus hour day. My wife and I had been on our feet almost all day – we hurt, we had trouble walking and we still had to return home. As for the cast and crew, they only had to drive to the local motels – but they had to plan for the following day and there would be another 14-hour day, and another and another.
It gives a whole new perspective to actors and crew members who spend their lives making movies. I came away with a whole new respect for those who entertain us.