To my mind there is no more grand a sculptural subject than the Buckaroo, his horse, and the life that they live in the great American West. The opportunities artistically and from an historical standpoint are limitless. The goal of any art should be to communicate, to carry on a conversation between the viewer and the piece of art being looked at. What I desire for the art I create is a piece that is compelling to the viewer and artistically challenging, a piece that will capture the viewers attention and not let them go.
It is what he brings to the table as a sculptor that allows Mattson to accomplish these goals. Born in California, his family was heavily involved in training and showing horses. Curt learned to ride and train everything from cutting and reining horses to pleasure horses while working on ranches through out the West. He was fortunate to learn how to make good horses in the tradition of the Buckaroo. To bring them up slowly with soft mouths and well trained. It is a tradition and heritage he values and is blessed to be a part of.
Curt rode for ranches from California to Alberta, Canada. It was in Alberta that he met the woman that would later become his wife. They worked together on a small horse ranch there, and then Curt went back to Oregon. It would take some time, but 10 years later the pieces fell together. On November 10, 1990 Curt married Wendy Gaastra, together they live in Arizona.
Curt's grandfather was an excellent horseman and craftsman, building saddles, bits, and braiding reins and bosals. He taught Curt how to build saddles and encouraged Curt to pursue sculpture, to tell the stories of the buckaroo. Around this time Curt ran across a photo in Southwest Art of a sculpture by Grant Speed called "Outlaws And Twisters." This piece captivated Curt and he still has the page from the magazine. It was then that he started thinking along the lines of trying his hand at sculpture.
Ranch work is a 24/7 job and left Curt no time to work on his art. However Curt's parents were supportive of his endeavors, and put him work in the family business so that he could study art. Curt started sculpting in 1983 and went full time in1988.
At an art show two months after leaving the ranch he was on, he met Cowboy Artist of America member Mehl Lawson, who generously took Curt under his wing and taught him from the ground up. Curt continued to learn from some of the top sculptors in the country by attending workshops with Fritz White, Herb Mignery and Richard MacDonald to name a few. While living in Prescott, AZ Curt's intensive training continued with Cowboy Artist of America member Pat Haptonstall. Many hours were spent under Pat's tutelage honing Curt's abilities even further. These sculptors encouraged Curt and gave generously to his artistic growth through their time and critique.
It is vitally important to me that what I create be first and foremost good art. My desire is that my work be historically accurate and artistically important. It is a hard line to draw at times, for accuracy is as important, but an accurate statement in sculpture that is poorly composed and modeled defeats the purpose of the creation. It must have both of these components to be successful. And in the end it must speak to others. Art must be about others and bringing them into a world that they love and admire. To do otherwise is meaningless.
Curt's life with horses is the grounding and inspiration for what he creates. To be a sculptor is the greatest of gifts in his eyes, and he is blessed to be able to share it with others. There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank the Lord for allowing me to sculpt.