One of the originators of the Western pop art movement, Billy Schenck incorporates techniques from photorealism with a pop art sensibility to both exalt and poke fun at images of the West. Schenck is known for utilizing cinematic imagery reproduced in a flattened, reductive style, where colors are displayed side-by-side rather than blended or shadowed.
Schenck’s artwork is now in 48 museum collections, including Smithsonian Institution, Denver Art Museum, Autry Museum of the American West, Booth Western Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, the Mesa Southwest Museum, Museum of the Southwest, Midland TX, Albuquerque Fine Arts Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art. Private collections include the estate of Malcolm Forbes, Laurance Rockefeller, the estate of Fritz Scholder, and Sylvester Stallone. Corporate collections include American Airlines, IBM and Sony.
A genuine cowboy himself, Schenck is a ranch-sorting world champion and the proprietor of the Double Standard Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, his home for the past two decades.
“47 years ago I left the Kansas City Art Institute with a B.F.A. in Painting. One week later I was in New York City to begin the launch of my career as an artist. I had no clue as to what that meant specifically – It was, however, the right move. I began making paintings based on black and white movie stills of Hollywood Westerns. The single most influential artist of that era (for me) was the Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone, who literally altered the course of film making with his trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns. I wanted to do with paintings in the Western genre what Leone had done with film. The beauty of working within the Western genre is that it has all the qualities of mythology, and metaphor. It has such a huge international mystique and has attained a timeless quality to it – no other genre in the last 200 years can compete.” – Billy Schenck
May 30, 2021