COZAD — Randall May thinks beyond his ability to create images.
“I don’t think of myself as an artist,” May writes in his artist statement. “I think of myself as a visionary who expresses himself through the medium of art. It’s important to me to express myself well, so I must continue to grow and develop for that to be possible. Original thoughts and ideas are key to this process.”
The artist takes those thoughts and ideas to create original pieces of art.
“To do what has already been done, instead of just learning from it, is a tragedy for any artist or visionary,” he writes. “There are enough ideas from this experience of living to more than fill the creativity of one, that can be shared in a lifetime.”
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May’s artwork continues on display through Sept. 22 at the Robert Henri Museum and Art Gallery in Cozad. He also will participate in the museum’s artist-in-resident program offering classes and demonstrations. The museum will host a reception for May, 5:30-7:30 p.m. today (Thursday).
The Robert Henri Museum began the program six years ago as a way to encourage understanding and appreciation of the arts in central Nebraska. The program also promotes the legacy of Henri, an influential artist of the early 1900s specializing in the Ashcan School of American realism and a prominent art instructor. As an organizer of “The Eight,” Henri worked to loosen the restrictive exhibition practices of the National Academy of Design.
May grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado where he found encouragement from his family for his art abilities. Both of his grandmothers worked as artists.
“My grandmothers helped me feel the freedom to explore many mediums of art, including sculpture,” he said. “I am from a family of highly artistic individuals; parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, all possess artistic talent.”
Randall studied at Union College in Lincoln and Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo. He won awards and scholarships while under the tutelage of John Seerey-Lester and traveled to workshops with the renowned artist in Alaska, Colorado and Florida. This inspired Randall to make several trips to Alaska, Florida, British Columbia and The Boundary Waters.
Later, he traveled in Europe and Egypt, finding an entirely new world of subject matter for his artwork.
May has studied with friend, Robert Bateman, numerous times, as well as Carl Brenders, Lincoln Fox, Alan M. Hunt, Nita Engle, Ray “Poco” Young and close friends Victor Issa and Pete Plastow. There are many others who have guided and instructed Randall, leading him on his gifted pathway. He had the privilege of learning to make pottery in the ancient Native American way from Navajo artist and friend Gregory Holiday while staying in Monument Valley, Utah, for a few weeks.
Randall’s paintings and sculptures range from small to monumental in size and are collected nationally and internationally. He has sculptures and paintings in the permanent collections of the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney and the Pinkerton Retirement Specialist and Museum in Idaho.
Randall has placed monumental sculptures, both public and privately, in several towns in Colorado. The Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff commissioned the artist to paint a monumental — eight foot by eight foot — size painting of a grizzly bear. He also was commissioned to do a grizzly painting for The Nature Center in The Wildcat Hills near Scottsbluff.
Randall has illustrated several books and currently is working on two additional books.