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Eye on Artists

"Ghost herd," photography by Norm Clasen
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Editor’s note: New images by western and horse photographer Norm Clasen are among the images on display at The Norm Clasen Gallery in Basalt. The exhibit includes a new direction in photography called artography. An artists’ reception takes place from 5-8 p.m. today.City/hometown: Los Angeles, but have been in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1962. I now live at Sopris Mountain Ranch in Basalt and have a gallery in Basalt.Occupation: Photographer and graphic artist. Worked as a photographer for the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency doing the Marlboro account. What an honor to work on that account, the most famous in U.S. advertising history, but I don’t smoke and hope those that do quit. My producer was CiCi Kinney, now living in Glenwood Springs.

Background/ education: University of Colorado. Self-taught in photography doing ski photos in the ’60s. Opened a graphic studio in 1967 called Studio Three in Aspen. Went to photography full time by 1972. See my biography at http://www.normclasen.com and also a selection of my work.Family information: Wife, Laura, and daughter, Jennifer, 28, also a photographer in Los Angeles. Father was an artist and did illustrations for many magazines, including the old Saturday Evening Post magazine. He died at 49 of cancer when I was 20.When did you know you wanted to become an artist? When I used to daydream and draw all the time in grammar school and not pay attention to my teachers. I remember one cranky old teacher that told me “you have an artist’s mind.” I think she was right.What’s the inspiration behind your work? A deep love of the West, horses and pushing light to its limit. I love dust, rain and any kind of weather that makes for a dramatic image. I’m not prone to shoot in bright sunlight.What’s your favorite subject, and why? The West and the the last of the great working ranches in America – and capturing people and places in different parts of the world.Briefly explain artography: It is a combination of using digital photography and working with them in Photoshop to create a new form of photographic art. It’s only in its infancy and promises to be around for a long time.

Most memorable exhibit: A presentation to Marlboro in New York of 36 images from a shoot I did in Montana where 12 images were selected for ads in national and international publications.Which three artists, living or dead, would you like to spend a weekend working with? Ernst Haas, Remington, and MichelangeloIf you could only have one piece of art hanging in your living room, what would it be? A Remington of my choice.What’s the message would you like to communicate through your art? A connection to the land and its people. However, the land would dominate the scene, not the people, in most cases.Describe your art in one word: Edgy



Colors: Amber and deep redMedium: Good cinemaphotographyFood: Peanut butter!Movies: “Out of Africa,” “The English Patient” and “Tender Mercies”

Book: “West with the Night” by Beryl MarkumAnimal: My Aussie dog, Max, and my five horsesPoem/poet: Edgar Allen Poe – “The trouble with a kitten’s that, eventually it becomes a cat. The cow is of the bovine ilk, one end moo the other milk.” He always makes me laugh at life.Song/musician: No way that is a real question. I love all kinds of music I can hum or understand the lyrics. I love the classics and have always liked “What Kind of Fool am I” by Sammy Davis Jr.Event at the rodeo: Saddle bronc riding and mutton bustingPlace to photograph in Garfield County: Carbondale area. Sopris is a magic mountain.


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