MESSENGER -- Larry Schultz began working as an artist by painting horses.
“I realized the horse market is glutted with horse artists. Every horse owner has a relative who paints horses,” Schultz said. “I was doing all right, but I said I better expand. So, I said, ‘I’m from Wisconsin, so I’m going to paint cows.’”
He also added pigs and chickens to his repertoire and combined those talents into one poster that will be featured at this year’s Wisconsin State Fair, which will be held from July 31 to Aug. 10. Read the current edition here: http://www.server-jbmultimedia.net/CSI-JanesvilleMessengerSunday
Schultz was named the grand champion artist for the Wisconsin State Fairtastic Poster Art Competition, beating out 27 other artists. Schultz’s winning design is featured on the fair’s commemorative posters and postcards. Proceeds from sales of the poster and postcards will be used to help support youth activities at the fair.
“It’s pretty awesome since it’s the first (poster contest) they’ve ever had,” Schultz said. “To be chosen from 28 artists through the whole process, it feels special since it’s your own state fair.”
Participants were asked to submit a pencil drawing of their poster, and then the four finalists were asked to submit a color sketch of their design in April. The winner of the contest was announced in June. Each of the four finalists received $400, and Schultz, as grand champion, won $1,000.
Schultz said his design featured various aspects of the fair including animals, activities, food stands and carnival rides. He said it took him about 80 hours to create the design for the poster.
“I wanted to incorporate as many elements that could fit in (the design) for the state fair. When you think of the Wisconsin State Fair, you think of some of the big events like the big draft horse race, and, of course, since we’re the dairy state you would like to have a cow in there and all the other animals,” Schultz said. “You think of the food like cream puffs and chocolate covered bacon on a stick and cheese curds and all the rides like the gondola that travels across the fairgrounds.”
Schultz said he wanted to create a design that would promote the fair as an enjoyable event.
“I wanted it to look like fun. It’s pretty cool because the people who saw it after I was finished, that’s the first thing they said, ‘It looks like it’s fun,’” Schultz said. “I wanted to have it be moving and have a lot of action like it’s coming at you, so that’s why I basically have everything coming at you in the design.”
As grand champion, Schultz attended a vendor event and has been invited to attend the opening ceremony Thursday. Schultz said he also plans to attend many of the activities at this year’s fair.
“I try to get there as much as possible,” Schultz said. “Everybody loves the fair. Any kind of fair has a certain atmosphere. The state fair is the big one. Being it’s your own state’s fair, it’s always got it’s own unique qualities that’s different from the other state fairs. I think Wisconsin has a pretty incredible fair. It’s a great experience.”
Schultz said some of his favorite things at the fair include the animals, events and food.
“It’s a good thing I’m from Wisconsin, because I love milk and cheese,” Schultz said. “They really have a good lineup of shows and attractions that if you went every day you wouldn’t get bored. When you think of the fair, you think of farm life, but it appeals to everybody. They really make a special effort to do that.”
Schultz has worked as a professional artist for about 20 years and operates Sunny Beach Studios, 10240 N. Klug Road in Milton. Schultz has designed artwork for several other events, including the World Dairy Expo, Art Crawl in Hayward and a Midwest horse fair. He is set to do a painting honoring the 50-year anniversary of the World Dairy Expo in the near future. He said he also has set up a booth and sold his artwork at the dairy expo during previous years.
“That’s been my best show,” Schultz said. “I’ve sold paintings to people from all over the world at the expo.”
Schultz does commission paintings of people’s homes, pets, farms and relatives.
“It’s really enjoyable to have people give me photographs of their horse or their family,” Schultz said. “I enjoy hearing their stories and just imagining what it’s like to be a part of that experience and how much it means to them. I just like to make people happy with my art.”
Schultz also has painted sets for school plays and musicals.
“It’s all great. You go all the way from tiny, little paintings to great, big huge set pieces, and it all fits character and elements, and it’s all enjoyable,” Schultz said. “Some of it takes a little bit more energy than others. Painting the sets takes a lot of energy, because you’re up and down and splashing paint.”
Schultz has participated in plein air art events in several local communities, including the annual festival in Beloit.
“That’s always an adventure just doing it. It’s a great practice learning-to-see tool, because painting from life is different than painting from a photograph,” Schultz said. “Photographs are awesome for references, but you don’t see things in photographs that you see in real life.”
Schultz studied commercial art at Madison Area Technical College and received an art teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Schultz has hosted several art workshops and demonstrations. He said studying art is an ongoing process.
“It’s never-ending learning and growing,” Schultz said. “I don’t care where you are in your art growth, you always have further to go. That’s what’s cool about it. Unless you let it, you don’t ever have to let it come to an end.”
Schultz said he enjoys art, because it is a relaxing activity.
“You work for two hours, and it only feels like 10 minutes,” Schultz said. “You go into this zone. You’re just there, and you just enjoy it. The hard part is getting started, because I’m a natural born procrastinator, and I learned a long time ago the best way to get rid of my procrastination is once I make myself start it, the process is very enjoyable.”