The Roswell Artist-In-Residence Program invited me to be their guest Centennial artist. I was pleased to accept and came to Roswell hoping to paint landscapes, animals, people, their stories, mythology and history. All my painting endeavors I render in a psychological/allegorical manner. Before starting the residency, as a way to discover and meet the community, I came to Roswell and completed a small mural in a café owned by Arturo Gonzales. In the mural, somewhat of a landscape of Roswell and the Pecos valley, I included Arturo's family, friends and many of his and my heroes—Mexican painters, writers and revolutionaries. So in my works at the residency, I have continued painting in a similar vein.
My father, Hal West, came to Santa Fe in 1925 from Oklahoma. An emerging young artist, he quickly got into printmaking and painting. By a strange coincidence, while hitchhiking to New York, he met my wonderful, beautiful, school teaching mother in Ohio. They got married and returned to Santa Fe. I was the middle child of five siblings. I was fortunate to have been born the summer of Roosevelt's first term in office, 1933. Throughout my growing up years, my family lived on Canyon Road in Santa Fe and on little adobe ranches on the fringes of Santa Fe. Those early years imprinted and influenced my own artistic and storytelling vision. I went to public schools and then on to Colorado State University, graduate school at UNM, marriage, military, back to Santa Fe as a teacher in high school history, biology and art. The art teaching began after my decision to return to school, this time to Highland's University in Las Vegas, NM. Elmer Schooley was my mentor.
After my graduate show in 1970, I quit teaching, but often returned to that kind of environment through artist-resident programs—doing mural work with highschoolers, youth centers, prisons, senior centers and a year of teaching printmaking at UC Santa Cruz, California. Concurrently with my painting activity during those forty or so years after 1970, I ran a construction company, building and designing custom homes, had a print or painting show each year, traveled some and helped raise a family. I've had many shows in many cities including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Denver, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, St. Louis and New York. My most recent gallery affiliations were with Arlene LewAllen and Linda Durham, both in Santa Fe. -Jerry West
The Roswell Museum and Art Center, in partnership with the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, is pleased to present Jerry West: A Trip to Roswell, New Mexico: Memory, Dream and Myth in celebration of New Mexico’s Centennial.