Brian’s Journey

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Welcome to Brian Crandall Art!  

This story began in 1993 after Brian Crandall had graduated from Wittenberg University with a degree in geology and history. Deciding to leave the comforts of home and family in Ohio and Michigan, Brian moved to Colorado to follow his dreams of living in the West.  Settling at a dude ranch outside of Loveland, Colorado, he performed any task needed. These chores included: setting up wedding parties and picnics, cutting grass, washing windows, cutting hay, irrigating, castrating bulls, and taking guests on trail rides. Brian lived in a former chicken coop – a 10’ by 10’ room with a bed, desk, and no heat.  He made $5 an hour for an 8-hour day, but usually worked 12 hours a day resulting in about $3.33 per hour. He paid $30 per month for room, $2 for breakfast, $3 for lunch, and $4 for dinner. Money wasn’t important; Brian was out West working on a ranch and around animals. That’s all that mattered.

Brian knew almost nothing about horses at this time.  At age 22, he thought he knew it all and could do anything.  A horse trader out of Kansas came through and Brian bought two 2-year-old horses and a yearling – Miss Pro Doc, Iroc Doc, and Deodar Star  respectively. None of them were even halter broke. The wranglers at the ranch offered Brian lots of help. And, though scared to death, he wasn’t about to stop.  These three horses began his lessons in horse life.

A year later, the ranch owner told him it was time to leave.  Brian got a job in Denver working for an environmental firm cleaning hazardous and non-hazardous waste sites. Being new to the state and not having any friends, Pro, Brian’s horse, was his only friend.  

One fourth of July weekend, he had nothing to do, and no one to do it with, so he went back out to the barn and decided to go for a night ride by himself.  There was a hill that overlooked the city of Denver from the South. He rode there quietly in the dark, and watched four or five firework displays over the Denver area.  As Pro and Brian sat there, a rumble began coming closer. Brian had no idea what it was. From the distance, a herd of about 20 horses came running up to the edge of the fence line.  They came from a dude string nearby. Pro stood like a rock. The horses stopped and just stood with them, watching the fireworks. At that moment, Brian knew that somehow, someway, his life was going to be centered around horses.

Several years later, Brian moved to Western Colorado and began to breed, raise, train and show Arabians, and Half-Arabians on a national level.  He has been fortunate enough to earn multiple national honors in Arabian Reining and Working Cow Horse competitions. Retired from the show pen, Brian continues to ride the trails of Western Colorado.  He is also the President and founder of the Colorado Plateau Horsemen’s Hall of Fame. The organization honors those fine horsemen, horsewomen, and horses that help create and promote the beauty and value of the equine community throughout the Colorado Plateau.

Brian has been a farrier for 15 plus years.  A graduate from the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in 2004, he completed the intensive 8-week program that included  written exams, anatomy dissections, the art of handmade shoes, and much practical shoeing. Over the years, Brian has been called in on rare cases that veterinarians have given up on.  He can’t quit on something, especially a horse. Not when you can see the look in their eyes, and know they aren’t done fighting.

His farrier work is comprised of sculpting a live foot based upon scientific principles of equine anatomy.  Each day, Brian sculpts the horse’s foot and shoe for balance, stability, and performance. Brian has developed his artistic talents over the past 15 years sculpting roughly 240 feet a week. This work sculpting feet has developed Brian’s skills of creating functional and decorative artwork from used horseshoes and various farrier tools. All the materials used for his art are supplied from used horseshoes, new and used horseshoe nails, and farrier tools from his farrier practice in Western Colorado.  

The used shoes are heated in a propane forge to 2200 plus degrees.  Brian uses hammer and anvil to create the desired shape. Once the design is set, the shoes are polished using different grinding tools depending on the finish needed.  The shoes are then welded utilizing a wire feed welder with a combination of carbon dioxide and argon gas. The art piece is then polished again. Following the polishing, each piece is sprayed a minimum of three times with a Rustoleum high gloss clear coat finish.  This helps prevent rusting. Depending on the location that the art piece is displayed, a refreshing coat of spray is recommended once a year or so.

Brian has made many custom art that has been distributed across the country, and a few countries overseas.  All items are built by hand, and no two are ever identical. Most every item can be made to specific sizes needed. While his imagination is the only limit to creating pieces, any new idea or request is always welcome.. Brian creates both simple and complex items such as hearts, hooks, and candleholders, horse busts, Pegasus sculptures, and tables.  

His farrier work takes him along the Colorado Plateau throughout Western Colorado and Eastern Utah.  The beauty of the landscapes is inspiration in itself. This country was traversed by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Kit Carson, Doc Holiday, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, and Chief Ouray of the Ute Indians.  Many of the shoes used in his artwork have covered the same ground as these noted figures.

MY ART ON DISPLAY

While you can purchase artwork by contacting us online or at the Brian Crandall Art gallery in Loma (appointments by contact only), you can find Brian’s work throughout the Colorado Plateau.  Traveling through Colorado along Highway 141, south of Grand Junction, you will come across of spectacular resort, Gateway Canyons Resort, where Brian’s work can be viewed.  This resort is set inside steep red cliff canyons along the Dolores River and the majestic Palisade.  Wine accessories can be found in Palisade, Colorado at Masion Belle La Vie Winery.

For those of you close to the Denver area, the Eclectic Cottage in Lakewood proudly displays my work.  This cute boutique also offers other unique home furnishings.