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Billy Schenck – Blending Western Motifs and Pop Art

December 21st, 2018

Since his early career, Billy Schenck has been challenging traditional western art with his 1960s pop art style.

Schenck was an early adopter of the pop art movement in conjunction with western motifs. He beautifully applies desert colors and vast landscape scenery on the canvas. His works often convey a lifestyle frozen in time - his cowboys at work herding cattle or on the move, his Native Americans amid the land. 

“The Old Spanish Trail” was an old trade route between Los Angeles and Santa Fe, New Mexico, spanning approximately 700 miles. Based in Santa Fe himself, Billy Schenck elected to portray the trail with peaceful, rolling scenery and layered clouds in the background. The lonesome leaning tree in the foreground and faraway plateau give this painting depth while keeping its simplicity. Schenck’s Western paintings often include iconic characters such as the one above – a stoic cowboy and his trusty steed, or the traditional Native American in harmony with nature.

The landscape of the old West creates striking visual appeal. Below, in his work entitled “Song of the Paho”, Billy Schenck’s use of muted colors and shadows creates a third character in the narrative below – the Earth itself. Wild, unruly, and inhospitable, the nature surrounding Western characters became both an opponent and caregiver. The delicate balance of which is captured in many of Schenck’s paintings.

Inspired in his youth by Andy Warhol, whom he worked for in his early twenties, Billy Schenck’s pop art style is all his own, blending Western culture into contemporary pop art. Schenck even acknowledges that he loves the alternative vision of his Western paintings.

The artwork featured here is available to view and purchase on Billy Schenck’s artist page online at Blue Rain Gallery.


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