“A man who can make his living doing what he loves is truly blessed, and I consider myself to be one of those men,” said Harold T. Holden, or “H” as he is called by many. The first fine artist in his family, H grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, in a creative family that counted inventors, engineers, and horsemen among its members.
“My subject matter has always been the West,” he said. “That is what inspires me and that is what I want to capture in my art.”
H’s art career began after he attended Oklahoma State University and graduated from the Texas Academy of Art in Houston. He began in the commercial art field and eventually took the position of art director at Horseman Magazine.
In 1973, H made the leap to full-time artist, and commissions from the National Cattlemen’s Association helped along the way. His work is included in the collections of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; the Oklahoma State Capitol; the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas; the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming; and the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. In addition, H completed 22 pieces of public art in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas.
He is known for his attention to detail and particularly his sculptures of horses. Believing an artist should know his subject matter, he has raised and raced American Quarter Horses and stays close to the cowboy and ranching way of life.
In 2001, H received the Governor’s Art Award from Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, and in 2005 was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Oklahoma State University. In 2004, he was elected into the National Sculpture Society and received the Western Artist of the Year Award from the Academy of Western Artists. In 2012, he was elected into membership in the CAA and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November 2014.
In April 2017, H was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. He is only the 10th artist to be inducted and the first artist from Oklahoma to receive this honor.
H and his wife, Edna Mae, live near Kremlin, Oklahoma.