Brian Tharp, originally from Arkansas City, Kansas grew up around ranching, feedlots, rodeo and American Quarter Horses. He discovered art at 6 years of age when his speech therapist let him finger paint one day. Art became his favorite pastime. As a child, he got lots of satisfaction from showing his art at the local level.
At 14, he became employed riding cutting horses for a nearby trainer/breeder. Sixteen hours days, 6 to 7 days a week left little time to dabble in the arts. His art took a “Back Burner” to adulthood after that. He worked feedlots and multiple ranches just “riding for the brand” to make a living. Periodically, he would get a “whim to do a piece”, usually in charcoal and pencil. He would give these pieces to family members, friends or as gifts.
In 2001, his path crossed again, (after 16 years), with his future wife Dr. Jan Johnston Tharp. They married and now make their home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma where they own Johnston Veterinary Clinic, raise Quarter Horses, and run a small commercial beef operation. She says it took her 11 years to convince him that he should renew his pursuits in art. He currently works in charcoal, pencil and airbrush.
Brian lost his hearing at 3 months of age, but does not see his deafness as a handicap. Instead, he looks at it as an advantage. It enhances his other senses of sight, smell, and touch. He says “when people look at my art, I want them to see, smell, and feel it the same way I do in my mind.”
Tallgrass Art Gallery is proud to represent this extraordinary artist.
Musings by Bruce Carter, Owner/Curator of Tallgrass Art Gallery