Organizations* : CAA, NAWA
Traditional sculptor of bronzes of the Old West, born in San Angelo, Texas in 1930 and living in Lindon, Utah. “There is a mystique about the West,” he observes, “that has captured people in all walks of life throughout the world. In the United States, there are movies, television shows, rodeos, books, and magazines all depicting the West. In the midst of this worldwide enthusiasm for the West, there is a growing interest in Western art.”
Raised during the Depression, Grant Speed never doubted that he would be a rancher. At twelve, he began to summer on a ranch that was “the neatest place on earth.” After he graduated from high school at seventeen, he was a working cowboy. Itchy feet took him to fifteen ranches by the time he was twenty-two, despite two hitches in the Air Force, but he wasn’t any closer to buying a ranch of his own.
He enrolled in animal husbandry at Brigham Young University, spent two and a half years on a mission for the Mormon Church, was a professional bronco rider in the rodeo until he injured a leg, and in 1962, qualified as a teacher. In two years, he knew he was in the wrong job. He had kept to himself his interest in art, but now he “decided very seriously that I was going to give art everything I had in me.” After teaching school all day, he taught himself to sculpt, and by 1965 he was selling bronzes at Trailside Galleries. The next year he was accepted into the Cowboy Artists of America and his career was established. He was featured in Ainsworth’s The Cowboy in Art in 1968, and then quit teaching. In 1970, the entire edition of his bronze was sold out at the CAA show, and in 1976 he won the CAA gold medal. His biography From Broncs to Bronzes was published in 1979.
Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.