A teenaged Gary Niblett saved money he made working at the grocery store on Eighth Street in Carlsbad in hopes that it would fund his art school studies.
When Niblett graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1961, he had his eyes set on the Art Center School in Los Angeles, though the artist said his funding fell a bit short. He graduated from Eastern New Mexico University and traveled to California chasing that dream.
He spent the next couple of years working to pay for art school and studying and perfecting his craft, foundations which the well-known New Mexico artist said served him well.
It’s a career that the Carlsbad Museum chose to honor in its latest exhibit titled ‘Gary Niblett: His life and art” which opens to the public Nov. 5.
An artist reception was planned for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 5. Food will be provided by HX Chuckwagon and entertainment by Rhone Prather.
The Carlsbad Museum said the exhibit was “the first retrospective of the storied career of New Mexico artist Gary Niblett.”
The exhibit is housed in the Atrium and temporary gallery and features examples of Niblett’s earliest work – a purple ribbon for best in show in the 1965 Carlsbad Area Art Association’s Arts and crafts exhibit – and recent sketches and completed art.
The majority of paintings in the exhibit feature scenes of life in the Southwest. In a series Niblett chronicles Mexican burros he observed in Oaxaca, Mexico. Portraits of cowboys and Indigenous women hang alongside scenes of horse-pulled wagons and Indigenous warriors on horseback.
Niblett said those were the products of his later life as an artist.
He began his career as an artist for Hana-Barbera Animation Studio, creating scenes for classics like Scooby Doo and Charlotte’s Web, examples of which are also featured in the exhibit.
The artist now lives with his wife Monika in Santa Fe.
“I would like to spend this next phase of my life painting the wonderful subjects New Mexico has to offer,” Niblett is quoted saying as part of the exhibition.
“Incredible scenery, interesting Ghost Towns of the past, and those wonderful little churches that can be found in every small town and community all over New Mexico.”
The exhibit will close in February 2023. The Carlsbad Museum is located at 418 W. Fox Street in Carlsbad.
For more information on the exhibit visit www.carlsbadmuseum.org.
Jessica Onsurez can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @JussGREAT.