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May 17, 2024 2 min read

From comic book aspirations, to classic cowboy artist, to captivating with color in an unbridled way, Larry Pirnie is – finally – living his childhood dream.

Like many creatives, his art began as an escape. Holed up in his trailer park home, hiding from the neighborhood ruffians who made sport of breaking his glasses, Larry indulged himself in adventures of his own making, drawing cowboys and horses and setting his sights on being a comic book artist living on a ranch one day. After a chance meeting with Norman Rockwell, who imparted the hard truth that “there’s a good chance you’re never going to be a professional artist”, Larry followed his dream on the path he thought he ‘ought’ to take, getting a formal art education degree from the Pratt Institute in New York. He went corporate, making visuals for a mainstream marketing department, until the untimely death of his daughter served as a wakeup call and sent him wandering West to Montana.

“If you’re going to live your dream, there’s no guarantee you’re going to be around tomorrow to do it,” he said. “So, you’d better get to it.”

Even still, he was playing it safe, creating traditional cowboy art that his wife Irene was brokering to different galleries throughout the country.

“We were making a living, but I almost quit because I was so bored,” he admitted. “I was trying to be ‘a western artist’, not Larry Pirnie.”

After some soul searching and consciously studying works he admired and that resonated with him, he pinpointed what they all had in common.

"I came up with two words: bold and colorful,” he said. “And guess what my work wasn’t? Bold and colorful. That’s when the kid in me took over. I learned a lot about color and my relationship with it, and then I also learned that my mind could not control it, that I had to let the kid do the playing. As soon as I turned my art over to the kid, this color came out of me that I can’t explain to people.”

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