Local painter Anthony York selected for Winter Park Art Trail
Anthony York has only been painting full time for about a year, but he is already starting to see his hard work pay off. Along with showing his art at the nationally ranked and juried Breckenridge July Art Festival, a piece of his was selected for the Winter Park Art Trail that opened on the Fraser River Trail in Grand County earlier this month.
The trail is part public installation and part people’s choice competition where the top three artists receive $250, $750 and $1,500, respectively. The call for artists garnered over 60 entries and was whittled down to 35 pieces from all over the country. Last year, the debut of the event, had over 40 submissions and 25 finalists.
Winter Park and Fraser Chamber Executive Director Catherine Ross said the installation was partly born out of the coronavirus pandemic. The paved, multiuse trail is about 4 miles long with the framed, printed photos of the two-dimensional art dotted along.
“It’s a beautiful trail to begin with, and this is just a compliment for people to stop and enjoy the nature beauty and the art,” Ross said.
Each photo is standing in a frame crafted by a local carpenter who repurposed beetle-kill pine and contains a QR code for voting. Photos, rather than originals, are on display so that the art can be easily reproduced and replaced if something happens. Ross said last year a tree fell on one because of high winds.
People can visit PlayWinterPark.com/art-trail to view works and cast a vote. Only one vote per person, per day is allowed. The voting runs through 5 p.m. Aug. 26.
Ross said they eventually want to do a show that includes the originals, and they also want to figure out how to include three-dimensional pieces like sculpture.
While the voting ends in August, the work will remain viewable until next summer’s competition. The winter trail is groomed for fat tire biking and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
“The art takes on a whole new life,” Ross said. “It looks so different in the winter light. It becomes another display.”
York’s piece is aptly named “Winter’s Glow” and is an oil painting of a fictional mountain range, sunset and trees. It’s coincidentally not the only work named “Winter’s Glow,” but he hopes his creation leaves a lasting impression.
“I think it’s really cool that it’s in the public and that anyone can vote,” York said. “It’s not just a small jury of professional artists.”
York grew up in Indiana, yet he has a connection to the mountains because he was born in Montrose. York is a landscape architect by trade, and he said he was always drawn to painting landscapes because he had the dream to move back to Colorado and explore the mountains.
“I really like landscapes and wildlife. There’s just something about the natural beauty,” York, who has lived in Summit County for four years, said.
The Ball State University graduate picked up the brush roughly a decade ago and then began to sell works on the side in the past five years before he decided to take a break from the corporate world. York said art was his favorite class growing up and decided to enter the field of landscape architecture in junior high. However, graduating from college in 2008 meant he bounced around firms because of the job market.
“I enjoyed it for the most part, but I really missed being super creative with graphics,” York said. “I always enjoyed creating my own stuff on the side as a hobby. … There’s something about acrylic and oil paints on a fresh canvas that’s just really exciting for me.”
His wife, Erin, supported him to make the change in career earlier this year. The two share office and studio space as they work remotely, which was the norm for them even before the pandemic. Now York said he’s constantly painting, often forgetting what day it is, and he is limited only by his imagination and what size canvas can fit in his Subaru.
In March, he found additional support in Tina Rossi and Alex Kendall of Breckenridge Gallery after the pair took a chance on York to showcase his work. York’s pieces can also be seen at Mountainkind in Breckenridge, Cabin Creek Brewing in Georgetown and Winter Park’s Uptripping — sponsors of the Art Trail.
In terms of exhibitions, he had a solo fundraiser show at Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in Denver and participated in a one-day festival at The Pad in Silverthorne.
“Summit County is a great place for art,” York said. “There are so many venues and galleries. There is a lot of good support with other artists.”
His next goals are to visit other galleries, particularly on the Western Slope, to check out the San Juans and hopefully end up being shown in a place like Telluride.
Aside from painting, he can be found rock climbing, mountain biking, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing with his dog. He’s camped in Grand County before and has even gone to Fraser to chop down Christmas trees. There wasn’t a prompt for this year’s competition, so he submitted “Winter’s Glow,” a recent painting, because he thought the subject matter was applicable as it made him think of Winter Park.
York chose the warm color palette first. He often paints a realistic scene captured by a camera, but he said he also likes to create his own landscapes, too.
“This one came to me just staring at a blank canvas,” York said. “It’s always different. Sometimes I’m inspired by other artists or photographs, but this one just came to me.”
Ross can’t speak to why others on the blind selection committee agreed on York’s painting, but she said the visible texture of the work is what caught her eye.
“It captured the winter in a different way than other pieces do,” Ross said. “That was a big standout among the artists.”
The public doesn’t have to make the trek to Winter Park to vote. It can all be done online at PlayWinterPark.com/art-trail. Only one vote per person, per day is allowed. The voting runs through 5 p.m. Aug. 26. More of York’s work can be found at Anthony-York.com.
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