Saturday, May 30, 2020
Rudi Broschofsky Depicts Western Heritage Through X-Acto Art
The Roper towers over Rudi Broschofsky.
Sunday, September 29, 2019


Rudi Broschofsky could take what would probably be a far easier route in applying big sweeping brushstrokes to canvas.

But, instead, he is mired in the far more painstaking, laborious work of carving hundreds of tiny dots from a stencil with an X-Acto knife.

It can take him 40 hours or more of exacting backbreaking labor that forces him to take frequent breaks to ease his aching back.

Rudi Broschofsky bought the rights to this photograph of rocks for his painting “Reflections,’ which is spray painted on panel with a resin finish.

But by the end he has a mesmerizing portrait of an icon of the American West depicting such memorable figures as Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, General Custer and even The Duke, often covered in shiny resin.

“The number of movies John Wayne starred in is incredible—142 pictures, 83 of them Western. It’s no wonder that everyone recognizes John Wayne,” he said. “As for the Native Americans, I like to capture what they had, how they dressed when they ran the country. I want to mirror of what it was like.”

Broschofsky is displaying a large exhibition of his work through October in Broschofsky Galleries at 360 East Avenue across from the Ketchum Town Square.

It’s a gallery he knows well.

Annie Oakley’s portrait emerges through dots.

He grew up in the art gallery his parents—John and Minette Broschofsky--opened on Sixth Street, now the home of SCOTTeVEST, when he was 5. His parents moved to their current site in 2004.

“I’d walk from Hemingway School and hang out in the gallery until they closed,” recounted Broschofsky. “I saw the art that was coming in and going out all the time and it grew on me. I grew up seeing Edward Curtis’s turn-of-the-century photographs and Andy Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians pop art. I like that the art is a mix of traditional and modern work. And I think people who might not like a more traditional interpretation can get interested in the more modern art.”

Broschofsky studied under some contemporary Western artists, like Theodore Villa, who paints a lot of dots in his paintings of Native American clothing and artifacts. And he got a degree in business finance at  San Diego State University in 2005 so he could return home to run his parents’ gallery.

 As his own art matured, he combined his love of traditional Western work with his love for street or urban art. Indeed, he takes a street art approach to Western art, making him unique to both genres.

Imagine carving out each of these dots.

Broschofky was in the gallery last week, working on a large-scale portrait of Annie Oakley, taking as many as 30 seconds or more to carve out each dot the size of a paper punch hole or smaller.

He photographed the image he wanted onto computer paper. He added the dots he wanted via photoshop, then projected the picture onto a stencil.

When he’s finished carving out the dots on the stencil, he will lay the stencil on the canvas and use spray paint to color it.

“It took me six months to do my portrait of John Wayne because I could only work a few hours at a time before my back would start hurting. It’ll probably take me 120 hours to do Annie,” said Broschofsky.

This is just the top portion of the 88-by-49-inch “The Duke.”

Broschofsky sprayed John Wayne with pink paint that faded to orange, evoking the thought of the Duke riding off into the sunset.

“I can get as many as four images that way, which allows me to paint the same portrait in different colors. Any more than that and the sharpness starts to fall apart.”

Not all of Broschofsky’s works are on canvas. The Roper, which stands 10 feet tall in Broschofsky Galleries, features a stainless steel front and back with a black middle sheet supporting the outsides.

It uses the same process, starting as a photo. In this case, however, Broschofky had a someone who works with steel cut out the holes for him.

Truly seeing Broschofsky’s work sometimes takes some effort.

A dot painting of John Wayne, for instance, is vague up close. And it’s the same with The Roper. Stand back 30 feet and the definition in the horse’s and roper’s faces emerges.

 “If we had it outdoors, you’d probably find that driving up it looks perfect. As you get closer, it becomes more abstract,” Broschofsky said.

In addition to dots, Broschofsky often endows his portraits with vertical or horizontal lines. Cutting each line out with X-Acto knife. He lines them up just right by hand before taking the spray paint to the picture.

“It’s a lot like working with spaghetti noodles!” he said.

Broschofsky believes his unique method adds to the fun for viewers.

“Because it’s so unique people don’t know the process. I think it’s fun for them when they learn how I do it.”


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