“Every painting starts with the horse for me — the way the light catches its gesture and movement,” Jason Rich said. It is no wonder since he grew up riding, training, and drawing horses on a small farm in southern Idaho. He spent many childhood summers on cattle drives with his uncle and could not imagine a better place to be than on the back of a horse.
His interest in art was fostered at a young age as well. His mother said, “He’s been drawing horses since he could pick up a pencil.” He studied art at Utah State University under Glenn Edwards, a talented artist and instructor who encouraged traditional and representational art in a department that mostly emphasized contemporary and abstract applications. Upon completing his education, Jason dedicated himself to pursuing art full time. “My wife and I lived in a basement,” he said. “Our first baby slept in a closet. But we knew art was what we wanted to do.”
Jason quickly established himself in the art market, receiving much recognition including the Arts for the Parks competition Grand Prize in 1997 and the Founders Favorite Award in 1999. He won the Best New Auction Artist Award at the C.M. Russell Auction in 1998 and was the 2002 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association poster artist.
In 2007, he was the featured cowboy artist at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for its National Day of the Cowboy event celebrating John Wayne’s 100th birthday. At the Autry National Center’s 2008 Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale he was the first Spirit of the West Award recipient. In 2012, he won the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association Award and the Silver Medal in Oil Painting, which he won again at the 2013 CAA show.
“I live in the foothills now,” Jason said. “I love that I can hop on my horse and be in the mountains in a matter of minutes.” He currently lives on a small acreage in northern Utah with his wife, Kari, three children, and three horses.