An A-Basin die-hard finds his niche in art |

An A-Basin die-hard finds his niche in art

Leslie Brefeld
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Eric Drummond

Landscape artist Drew Gibson, a Breckenridge resident, describes himself as “a local ski bum who always had this art talent.”

Gibson has been living in Summit County for 10 years, ski patrolling at Arapahoe Basin for five. He’s also worked summers at the Eagle Springs golf course in Wolcott for 13 years. It was through these Vail connections, specifically Vail businessman Ron Davis, that Gibson was able to make a living with his art.

He said people began to notice his pastel landscapes there, and the jobs snowballed.

In 2005, he had so many commissions to work on that he was able to quit his ski- patrolling gig to focus solely on his fine art.

Gibson, a Denver native, grew up skiing in Summit.

“I was always very passionate about skiing as a kid growing up. I was into the mountains and being outside,” he said.

He went to college in Nebraska, but was soon back in the mountains of Durango. He moved to Denver for more graphic design schooling, but realized he missed the High Country too much to stay. In Breckenridge, where he lives with his wife and daughter, he found a joy in drawing mountains and landscapes.

“I live here to ski and to be in the mountains and raise my daughter in a great place,” Gibson said.

Q: What are your dreams? What would you like to do with your art?

A: My dream is to make a successful career out of doing something I love, being my own boss and supporting my family being an artist. I am always striving to create paintings that are successful to me, and to constantly strive to get better every day. If I am successful at these things, then my dream will come true.

Q: What does art give you/why do you do it?

A: Art gives me freedom, challenge and a sense of accomplishment. But most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to communicate an idea or feeling to someone else. Richard Schmid spoke of art being a unique form of language, and I couldn’t agree more.

Q: What do you try to convey through your art?

A: I try to convey the emotions and ideas I experience through painting. As I see it. Artists don’t “see more.” We are just able to see beauty where others don’t. I am constantly looking for these little gems every day. If I’m out hiking or skiing, I might be moved by a particular moment, and I want others to know what it felt like hiking that mountain, or skiing that chute, or whatever. Or maybe I just see something that I just have to paint. I never stop looking for things to paint.

Q: What is/has been your biggest challenge, and how do/did you deal with it?

A: The biggest challenge for me as an artist is the business side of being a full-time artist. Marketing, selling, taxes. I hope someday I never have to bother with the business, and can just concentrate on being creative. That’s what it’s like being a successful artist. It’s easy to create art. It’s challenging finding ways to sell it.

Q: What are you most proud of regarding your art (and/or greatest accomplishment)?

A: I am most proud of selling enough paintings to work for myself. It is a difficult career indeed, and requires a lot of self-motivation, and patience. It’s always a great accomplishment to sell something you created out of thin air.

Q: How do you stay fresh/motivated?

A: I stay fresh and motivated by studying other artists’ work. Many artists out there inspire me and keep me motivated. There are so many great artists out there. I am constantly studying the work of masters, like Aspevig, or Schmid. There is so much to learn from them. Trying to comprehend their talents. Music also stimulates me, so it’s always on.

Q: What do you do when you’re not making art?

A: When I’m not painting, I am spending time with my family. My wife Leisa and I are looking forward to teaching our 2-year-old, Grace, to ski. That will be fun. And when I’m not with them, you can find me riding the Pali, and skiing the Spine with my friends. Oh Ya!

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