(b. 1926) became a leading interpreter of today's West, by a series of unpredictable circumstances. He is a native New Yorker who never saw the West until he was 40 years old. "I am the biggest accident that ever happened," he declares.
He began drawing as a boy, inspired by the artwork in such comic strips as Flash Gordon and Tarzan. After WW II, he joined the prestigious Charles E. Cooper Studios. During that time he worked for Ford, General Electric, Coca-Cola, The Saturday Evening Post, Argosy and Reader's Digest. He created hundreds of book covers, including 62 in the popular Doc Savage series. He's had commissions from the Baseball and Football Hall of Fame and was official artist for the New York Giants football team.
In 1966, he spent a vacation in Wyoming at the guest ranch of a fellow illustrator and got an idea of how different his life might be. Jim and his wife, Lynne, went back to Wyoming and he started painting Western culture, and his third and most famous art career began.
In 1978 the Bamas moved into their present home on a sagebrush-covered hillside some 20 miles west of Cody, Wyoming, in the village of Wapiti on the highway to Yellowstone National Park.
Malcolm Furlow is known for strong color combinations that make his expressionist paintings of Indian themes come alive with feeling. As a one-time set designer for Walt Disney he learned to work with bold primary colors, later adapting them to his paintings of Indians - his favored subject since he began drawing as a boy.
When asked about the bright images he creates, which are fragmented by color, he says they are ". . . a metaphor for the human condition. The further Native Americans are removed from their heritage and embraced by anglo culture, the greater the conflict that results. This is the dichotomy that fuels the fires for my paintings." Driven by his own passion for painting, Furlow names Fritz Scholder as an important influence whose work inspired him to paint large, dramatic canvases.
He has said that his " . . . first love is painting. I can bring my soul to it", and this is obvious in the strength and emotional impact of his work.
Furlow began painting full time in 1987 and within two years was exhibiting internationally.
The Charles J. Belden collection at the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center consists of approximately 3,000 original negatives. Most of these images were taken in the 1920s and 1930s on the legendary Pitchfork Ranch near Meeteetse, Wyoming. Located at the base of the Absaroka Mountains, the 250,000 acre ranch proved fertile ground for Belden's photography. By photographing cowboys and cattle against the spectacular backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, he created some of the classic images of the American West. His photographs convey a sense of energy, vitality, and adventure and indicate an understanding of dramatic scene composition as well as the hardships
of the Wyoming range.