Chuck Horsman – Making Art With a Personal Connection
Art is everywhere you look. It’s on the walls of our homes and offices, in schools and on billboards and advertisements. It’s on the packaging of the products that we buy and so much more. Oftentimes, we hardly stop to notice, but without art, all the canvases of our daily lives would be completely blank. Before that happens, some in the local artist community want to raise awareness and appreciation for art.
Center Grove area artist Chuck Horsman is one artist on a mission to spread art appreciation and awareness. Horsman just got a boost from Mallow Run Winery with their Artist Series Contest. The winery, in partnership with the Greenwood Arts Council, sponsored their fifth annual Artist Uncorked contest. Dozens of artists enter the contest every year by submitting their artwork to be chosen for the label on their Artist Series Wine. Horsman’s art was chosen in September for the 2016 Artist Series labels. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Artist Series wine goes to benefit the Greenwood Arts Council and promote local artists and art awareness in the Greenwood community.
Horsman made a name for himself as a graphic designer starting right out of college, but through high school and college, he produced art using brush and canvas. Recently, though, he was struck with some inspiration to go back to his roots. Horsman says, “I picked up my brushes again about three years ago and was immediately hooked again. I learn a bit more with every painting and have more ideas for work than I have time in the day.”
Featuring subjects ranging from the not-so-famous to famous people like Andrew Jackson and John Lennon, Horsman’s paintings are a glimpse into his persona. “For better or worse, I’ve always thought of myself as an artist. In my younger years (high school and earlier), I was inspired by comic books and still am to a degree. Today, I have a wide range of inspiration from street graffiti, portraiture artists and comic books. My favorite artists are van Gogh and de Kooning,” Horsman says.
Horsman has been fortunate to have experience from both sides of the art realm. A graduate of The University of Indianapolis’ Fine Arts Program, he was trained in classic brush techniques. But right out of college, he began work as a graphic designer, eventually opening his own design firm, CH Designs, in 2002. He says his graphic design experience certainly has given him a broad perspective of the industry’s business side. But once he got back into painting, he re-discovered his passion all over again.
Horsman says, “I have so much fun creating these. I start out with a light sketch, start blocking in colors and continue getting more detailed until I feel like I have a good base for the painting. Then I usually get my pallet knife out and get really loose. I’m happy with it when I start adding the icons and graffiti effects that personalize the work for me. I feel like my design work is creative to a point, but the paintings are almost purely for my own creative outlet. I enjoy the freedom to a certain point, but it is nice to have some defined boundaries every once in a while.”
Personalizing a connection to art is exactly what Horsman hopes to promote now that he’s ventured back into painting. He says, “There is so much production art available. Buying a production print doesn’t give you a connection to the artist or their story. My wife, Heidi, and I have art all through our house that we’ve purchased from local artists directly or at art fairs and galleries. That artwork means so much more to us than a production line print. We have a personal connection to the work, and we can reach out to the artist to find their motivation behind it and follow their growth as an artist.”
Being on a mission to grow art appreciation and awareness doesn’t mean Horsman is giving up his successful digital graphic design business. Chuck Horsman Designs has been a part of projects for IPS, Polaris, Crosspoint and many more. With the design business thriving, Horsman is growing the painting side. As part of the Stutz Artist Association, Horsman features his work at various art shows throughout the year and hopes to ultimately have his art featured in a gallery. He says, “I’m looking forward to getting my artwork out there to more people and seeing what happens.”
In the meantime, Horsman is making a plea on behalf of all artists. “The artist community needs your support. We love when people come out to see our work and ask us questions about it, and we especially like when you buy our art. And I think you’ll find that same sense of gratification when you’ve selected work from an artist you enjoy and have had the chance to talk to.”
In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to see Chuck Horsman’s work, check out chuckhdesign.com. You can also see his paintings all over his Facebook page, and he’s on the Stutz Artists Association website at stutzartists.com. Horsman is expected to exhibit at the Stutz Artists Holiday Show in December. Keep an eye out on his Facebook page for more details.