Buckeye BlakeIn Hollywood, James Coke Blake was well known for painting great scenery for film studios. In Nevada, he was well respected for his work on construction sites, ranches and sign-painting jobs. Back home in Carson City, his relatives wondered if he was going to follow in his great-grandfather’s footsteps and become a great breeder of quarterhorses, whether he was going to keep his father’s tradition of being a great rodeo rider or be like his mother and become an artist.
It was the latter that finally claimed Buckeye, named after a city in Arizona. After his family passed through Buckeye on the rodeo circuit, the nickname stuck, somehow fitting this wandering Westerner. Still, even though he had chosen an occupation, the versatile experimenter was not going to approach it in a commonplace manner. He worked in a variety of mediums, often painting several versions of the same image, one in oil, one in pen and ink and one in watercolor.
He also wouldn’t stick to canvas, choosing instead to explore painting, sculpting, designing, leatherwork and fine art screens. He didn’t leave it at that, either. Buckeye Blake also became known for his clothing, pottery, furniture and even handbags and the numerous posters he created for the Cowboy Poetry Gatherings in Elko, Nevada.
His work for The Greenwich Workshop reflects his energy, enthusiasm, appreciation of bold color and sense of design. Adding that to his knowledge and experience of Western life takes his work beyond that of Peter Max or Andy Warhol, into a whole new realm of uncommon, rollicking art.