Artist Spotlight: John Rule

Posted on November 9, 2021 by Seth "from Marketing" Spillman in

Returning to The Cowboy for its 16th year, the highly anticipated Small Works, Great Wonders Art Sale will showcase more than 200 original works from some of the finest contemporary Western artists in the nation.  

Many of the artists who participate in the art sale have a long-standing history with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. John Rule is one of this year’s returning artists with a long-standing tie to The Cowboy. He describes the Cowboy as one of his favorite places to be and sculpted the Annie Oakley statue that stands in Liichokoshkomo’, the Museum’s outdoor education area and gardens. 

During construction of Liichokoshkomo’ the Annie Oakley Society … contacted me,” Rule said. “They wanted to do a sculpture of Annie to commemorate the fabulous area. Truly it was an honor and a privilege to create Annie knowing that she will reside in her place for years and years to come! 

Many of the artists who participate in Small Works, Great Wonders, or SWGW, live in the West or have deep roots in Western heritage.  

“The drive to tell a story of the West is where the process starts,” Rule said. “It’s what I have lived my whole life, and to be able to relate a story and cause a pause in a busy schedule of someone’s day drives me to create.”  

 Rule lives on a ranch outside of Oklahoma City where he draws much of his inspiration for his work.  

“The west encompasses so many things, great landscape vistas, sunrises, sunsets, wildlife, cowboys, Native culture past and present, and human interaction with all of the above and so much more,” he said. 

Rule is presenting two sculptures in this year’s show.  

“Wind Driven” was inspired by an Edward Shariff Curtis photo portrait taken near the turn of the 20th century. The photo titled “Many Goat’s Son” captures a young Native American man wrapped in a blanket “bundled up from the desert wind, or guarded from what spirit is in the wind,” Rule said. 

“Disconnected” shows a wild bucking horse. The piece went through several changes before Rule decided on the final composition. The viewer is left to decide how this dangerous scene turns out for the cowboy. 

Small Works, Great Wonders original works are on display now through November 28 for all visitors to view and enjoy. The Art Sale will take place in person on November 12. To place ballots on art, buyers can bid by proxy services, in person at the concierge table the evening of the sale, or on the Western Heritage App.  

Click to learn how to buy amazing Western Art.

Small Works is a great place to be in November!” said Rule. 

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