Artist Tim Cox Partners with Just LeDoux It Western Skies Vodka
Drink Just LeDoux It was created to keep the legacy alive of the world champion bareback rider and singer-songwriter, Chris LeDoux. Drink Just LeDoux It offers a wide variety of handcrafted spirits. LeDoux’s music has captured the spirit of the western industry from the country music world to rodeos. A portion of all proceeds goes back to the Chris LeDoux Memorial Foundation. Drink Just LeDoux It has collaborated with the spectacular western artist and genuine cowboy, Tim Cox by having Tim’s art printed on the labels for the bottles of the Western Skies Peace of Mind vodka collection. Tim’s art was the best choice to portray the lyrics of Chris LeDoux’s song “Western Skies”. This inclusive interview will give an insight into how Tim Cox came to be a renowned western artist and his journey collaborating with Drink Just LeDoux It.
CLN: Can you give us a little bit of background on your life and how you came to be an artist?
Tim: I don’t ever remember not drawing, I would draw on whatever was available to me when I was a little kid. I’d draw on paper sacks or at church. I’d take the xerox copy of the church program for the day and draw on the back of it and turn around on my hands and knees and use the pew as a table to draw. In the eighth grade, I had teachers buy a painting that I did on paper. One painting was a moose and the other was a pheasant. I had done some wildlife but it’s always been horses, cowboys, and ranch life as I was raised out in the country. My first job was cowboying when I was eight years old. I worked on the ranches on weekends and in the summertime. I learned to shoe my first horse when I was eight years old. I grew up working ranches, and that’s what I loved. I pretty much always had a horse that I rode where we lived out in the country. So that’s always been a subject matter.
My parents always supported me and got me supplies. We had an artist in the little town where I grew up in Duncan, Arizona. He had a pharmacy and an art gallery. So we could buy supplies and go in there. He had a place where you could buy malts, shakes, Cokes, hamburgers, and that kind of stuff. I’d walk down there at lunch from school and watch him paint and get supplies from him. In high school, they only offered two years of art but they made sure I got four years. More of my teachers started buying my paintings and my dad started selling them at work and around town. Teachers started having me do the pep rally art where they would have me paint the mascot on the wall and on the circle in the center of the gym where they jump for basketball.
When my wife Suzie and I got married, her wedding gift to me was an art class at a lodge in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The class was a week-long workshop and by the time it was over, I think every person in the class had asked me to do a painting and it just took off from there. Cowboy and artist, Grant Speed took me to Scottsdale, Arizona, and introduced me to Trailside Gallery and they took me in when I was seventeen years old. From there that’s what I continued to do to make our living during all this time for about 46 years now. They started making prints and calendars and my wife, Suzie helps run that part of the business. We’ve sold artwork to feed stores, clothing stores, and all kinds of people all over the world. I still ranch, it gets my batteries recharged. I never thought about not being an artist to tell you the truth or thought we couldn’t make it. It was just a lot of luck and hard work along the way.
In the early days Suzie and I first moved out to the cowboy camps and nobody else would stay in them, there was no electricity and just spring water for the house. I would cowboy during the day and then paint at night. In the early years without electricity, I’d use two Coleman lanterns and I’d set them up in the bathroom. I did this because it had white walls and propane lights around the wall that I could turn on which would reflect off those walls so I could get more light in there. I’d work till two or three in the morning and then get up early the next morning and go to the cowboy work. We moved closer to town so our kids could go to school and we now reside in Bloomfield, New Mexico.
CLN: How long does each painting take you and what median of paint do you use?
Tim: It takes about six weeks to two months to do one painting. I use oil paint on a masonite board. Some of the time I paint on a canvas but I like the surface I can get on a masonite board. It’s more like drawing paper, I can control the surface a lot better than having the canvas weave.
CLN: Your painting style is a direct reflection of your life, how does that show up in your pieces, and does it help with the creative process of creating new pieces?
Tim: I know the people in all of the paintings, they’re friends or people I have worked with within the places that I’ve been. I don’t paint from just one photograph. I take photographs when I go out on the ranch and use about thirty to forty photographs to reference a painting. Robert Henri once said, “If you’re going to paint history, paint your own history and it will become history”. I think because I experience it all, it adds more heart and authenticity to a painting. I think people can see the heart and soul that you put into each piece.
CLN: What is your process for creating new pieces or coming up with new concepts?
Tim: I’ve always got something in the back of my mind to do. Whether it’s a place I’ve been to, I want people to experience the west through my eyes through the work I do and what I see. I want people to feel like they’re there and experiencing it on their own. As far as the details, growing up around cowboys, farmers, and ranchers all my life it is the little details that stand out to me. The details of how a horse or calf holds its ears or if they were off on their own somewhere. All these little details of life make a difference in each piece.
CLN: Can you describe a moment or event that changed the course of your career or dramatically influenced you in some way?
Tim: The red letter moment was when I was introduced to Candy Bedner at Trailside Galleries in 1975. She took me under her wing, I was just a country kid, and she taught me how to act in the art world. She took care of me and made sure the collectors were the right collectors. That moment was a big day. She didn’t have any children but I had always told her she was my art mother. When she passed, her obituary was written saying “is survived by Tim Cox, her near son and his wife, Suzie.”
Another moment was when William Whitaker, who taught at Brigham Young University in the art department, contacted me to be one of the five students he chose from all over the world to be in his special art class. The class was five days a week, six hours a day and that helped improve my drawing and I learned a lot about painting there.
CLN: How did you come to be aware of Chris LeDoux and how did you come to collaborate with the Drink Just LeDoux It brand?
Tim: I’ve listened to his music forever. I remember when we lived in Eagle Creek, New Mexico in the ’80s and early ‘90s listening to his music while I was painting. I’ve always known of his music.
Drink Just LeDoux It brand had contacted me through my website because they had seen and thought my paintings would go well with their brand for their Western Skies vodka line. It was really important to us that a portion of all proceeds from Drink Just LeDoux It went back to the Chris LeDoux Memorial Foundation. That was a big deal, plus our whole family has known Chris LeDoux’s music and still listens to it to this day. I thought it was an honor, a great thing to do, and a great cause to be a part of.
CLN: What’s your favorite Chris LeDoux song?
Tim: Chris LeDoux’s song, “You Just Can’t See Him From The Road” is one of my favorites.
CLN: Jumping into the labels of the Western Skies Vodka line, how does it feel to be partnering with a brand that promotes the western way of life?
Tim: That’s important to me, carrying on the western way of life, keeping it out there and keeping it alive. That’s very important to Suzie and me as we both grew up around the cowboy way our whole life. We’ve always had horses and been around horses. We just have always loved that lifestyle and raised our kids in that lifestyle. The deep roots of the western way of life are important to keep alive and for people like Chris LeDoux’s brand and keeping it out there is just awesome.
CLN: In conclusion, how do you hope to inspire people with your work whether it be on a Vodka bottle or hanging in their home?
Tim: I want people to have something they can enjoy looking at and have them wishing they were there in that moment. I hope it helps make people want to be a part of the western experience and lifestyle.
We get emails every day from people telling us how they’re inspired and how they love to just sit down and look at my paintings because it takes them away to a calmer and more peaceful time. They just enjoy seeing the art and feeling like they are there.
Check out Tim Cox’s website, www.timcox.com to order prints, canvases, and calendars. Every once in a while you’ll see an original painting available for sale.
To purchase Chris LeDoux’s Western Skies Peace of Mind vodka showcasing Tim Cox’s western art go to www.drinkjustledouxit.com
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