Broadmoor Galleries hosts ‘Icons of American Art’ exhibit, reception and sale

African American artists Thomas Blackshear, Dean Mitchell and Ezra Tucker have enjoyed long, strong fine art and commercial careers. And while their names might not always ring familiar outside art and fan circles, you’ve probably seen their work.

Blackshear and Mitchell have designed illustrations for U.S. postage stamps, and all three have at one point created art used for Hallmark greeting cards, said Jamie Oberloh, director of the Broadmoor Galleries.

“All are highly regarded in the American Western art world,” but it’s their commercial work that brought the greatest exposure — albeit, too often without the name recognition it deserved, Oberloh said.

“Through their commercial careers, most people have seen their artwork, even though you don’t associate it with them as the artist. They’re like invisible artists,” Oberloh said.

Attendees can meet the artists and talk with them about their creations at the Broadmoor Galleries’ “Icons of American Art” reception, exhibit and sale 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The event is free and open to the public.

“All three, they’re just influential artists, and we’re really excited to have them here,” Oberloh said.

Blackshear, of Colorado Springs, is a 2020 inductee into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. In addition to painting and illustrating, he is the creator of the Ebony Visions collection of “afro-nouveau” figurines.

“They’re wildly popular and are highly regarded in the Black community because they celebrate Black culture,” Oberloh said.

Florida-based Mitchell is a “museum artist” whose works are on display around the country.

“Dean’s work has been said to be especially poignant during the COVID era, because he does a lot of desolation and isolation. His work is really haunted if you look at it,” Oberloh said. “They have museum shows for him everywhere. I was just really taken aback when he agreed to do this show with us because you usually don’t see him at gallery type events.”

Tucker, of Monument, has carved out a reputation as a skilled wildlife artist after beginning his career as an illustrator, creating images for billboards and promotional print materials for companies including Anheuser-Busch, Disney, Pepsi, Field & Stream magazine and The National Park Service, Brunswick, Santa Anita Race Track, Levi-Strauss, Seagrams, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Lucas Fil

His artwork has been exhibited at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Texas Rangers Historical Museum in Austin, among others, and hangs among the permanent collection of the Booth Western Art Museum.

“The challenge I have for myself is to present the beauty and majesty of the animal world in dynamic form to help influence the preservation of our planet’s varied species through my representation of their nature through my art,” Tucker has said of his art and motivation.

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