Yee-haw! 5 Icons of the Old West

Joanne Artman Gallery
Apr 2, 2017 3:14PM
Billy Schenck
Joanne Artman Gallery

In honor of artist Billy Schenck, one of the founders of the Western Pop Art movement, we look into the artist’s favored subject: the Wild, Wild West! Schenck blends pop culture imagery, myth and legend into richly colored canvases that are equal parts statement and commentary. Abundant in history, landscape and folklore, the American Frontier was once synonymous with the cowboy’s take on the American Dream. The term generally refers to the Western United States, in the second half of the 19th century - a time and place that has been captured in both our dreams as well as Hollywood films…Here are our top picks that are “fine as cream gravy”.*Cowboy Slang for “Top Notch”

West Mitten Butte Monument Valley, view northeastward from Arizona to Utah, USA. (Image courtesy of WikiCommons.)

1. Monument Valley

Hollywood films would not be the same without abundant use of this iconic location located on the Arizona-Utah border. Westerns filmed here (such as those by John Ford) cemented the landscape and image of the “West” for Americans and foreigners alike. According to critic Keith Phipps, “its five square miles [13 square kilometers] have defined what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West.”  

2. Sacagawea

Best known as being the only woman in the Lewis and Clark expedition into the American West. The daughter of a Shoshone chief, she was an interpreter and later, a pop culture figure, in spite of, or maybe because of, the mystery surrounding most of her life.

Billy the Kid c. 1880. (Image courtesy of WikiCommons.)

3. Billy the Kid  

Both feared and respected, Billy the Kid is the prototypical Old West gunslinger. There are numerous legends concerning this outlaw, including one that he survived his own death.

Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger. (Image courtesy of WikiCommons.)

4. The Lone Ranger  

The incredibly popular fictional character that is the prototypical “hero” of the Western genre. The Lone Ranger is a masked former Texas Ranger who fights outlaws with the help of his Native American friend Tonto.

Anderson in a 1913 portrait. (Courtesy of WikiCommons.)

5. Broncho Billy Anderson  

This hot potato was an actor, writer, director, producer and first star of the Western film genre in his role in the early motion picture The Great Train Robbery (1903). He filmed and acted in numerous films over the course of his career, his most popular role being the cowboy known as “Broncho Billy.”

Billy Schenck is represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery:  511 A West 22nd St. New York NY 10011 || 326 North Coast Hwy. Laguna Beach, CA 92651

949.510.5481 || || [email protected]

Joanne Artman Gallery