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Michael Cassidy was born and raised in Solana Beach, California, but has traveled and studied Western Cowboy and Native American cultures most of his life. Cassidy attended art school for 8 years at Palomar College and Long Beach State. Each year he travels to historical areas and small western museums to gain knowledge and collect source material for his artwork. Western art is all about storytelling and nothing captures the drama of the Old West like Western pulp fiction. Cassidy’s paintings vividly portray fictional, often sensational, versions of people, places and historic events of the West and draw on rich and varied sources. Cassidy and his family reside in Bend, Oregon.
The West is a place but also a state of mind. There’s a reason why Western art is still popular today more than a 120 years after the heyday of its subject matter. It represents something intrinsic to us. I acknowledge that the myth and the reality of the West are two different things. The reality was a beautiful but wild, harsh, brutal and unforgiving environment for all concerned. Today, the myth of the West may be more important than the reality. The West represents something crucial to living life to its fullest: Beauty, romance and adventure. The things that really make us come alive.
I like the look of the old Western “dime” novels, sometimes called pulp magazines, as well as early Western movie posters from the 1920s and ‘30s. I call many of my paintings “Western Pulp” These works are my idea of what the cover of a “dime” novel would look like on the scale of the old Western movie posters. Where I live on the eastern side of the Cascade Range in Oregon the cowboy life still exists. It’s called the “Oregon Outback”. The romance of the West is still here. Beauty, romance and adventure still exist if you take the backroads slow down and spend some time to soak it in. It’s hardwired into us. It’s my hope, desire and pleasure to tell those stories through painting. These paintings are stories to remind us what we’re looking for and what really makes us come alive.
– Michael Cassidy