“Being an artist and painting the human figure is what compels me. It wakes me up at night, it’s what I love and I drive myself to do it very well. Art is my life-long obsession, pleasure and torment”.
Born in 1965 in a small town in Utah, Bryce believes his first desire to be an artist was formed at a very young age when he would go out with his mother while she painted the Utah landscape. Later in school, drawing was a comfort zone for Liston. “It was a subject that excited me- I always had energy and interest for it.” It was here that Liston found his love of the human form. “I don’t quite know why I was drawn to the human form; I suspect the seed was planted while studying the art of the great American Illustrators like N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle.”
It was then that he knew it was the human form that he wanted to portray in his art. He attended the University of Utah for a short time but dropped out before finishing his degree. “I wanted to learn about the craft of art. I wanted to learn to actually produce art, not just discuss it.” With limited resources Bryce found himself working in the studio and foundry of master sculptor, Edward J. Fraughton. The time Liston spent with Fraughton provided him with a knowledge of anatomy that few painters possess and that understanding brings depth and life to the figures he paints. “In Ed’s studio I learned a lot about art. It’s funny, I learned about painting from a sculptor- I don’t think that’s something that happens everyday.”
Bryce’s education has been self-directed and continues to be that way. Not having a formal art education can be a long and hard way to go about it but it does have its advantages. It allows you to find your own voice rather than emulating that of your teachers, a principle lesson that Liston imparts to all of his students. “Take in all the information that is presented to you, then afterwards disassemble it and make it fit into your personal vision and style.”
He currently resides in Holladay, Utah with his wife and three daughters. “I can’t even imagine myself not painting or sculpting. My mother was a very talented artist and I can already see some of the same abilities emerging in my young daughters.”
“The artist has within himself the power to convey the idea of what it means to be human.”
Bryce’s work is shown in galleries around the country and he participates in many national and international exhibitions each year. Bryce’s artwork has won numerous prestigious awards, including The Tuffy Berg Award, The Honorary Chairman’s Award and the Southwest Art Award of Excellence at the 2010 CM Russell Auction. He is a signature member of the Oil Painters of America and was awarded Best in Show at the 2008 OPA Western Regional Exhibition. He was also named one of the Top Ten Artists to Watch by Southwest Art Magazine in January, 2009. His art has been published in many magazines as well as on book covers.
- Best in Show, Gold Medal Winner OPA 2018 Western Regional Juried Exhibition – (Awarded by Mike Desatnick)- Mary Williams Fine Art – Boulder, CO Sept. 7, 2018.
- John Dietrich Memorial Figurative Award of Excellence OPA 2018 National Juried Exhibition – (Awarded by Craig Tennant) – Steamboat Art Museum – Steamboat Springs, CO June 1, 2018.
- Members’ Choice Award of Excellence OPA 2018 National Juried Exhibition – Steamboat Art Museum – Steamboat Springs, CO June 1, 2018.
- Best Signature Award of Excellence OPA 2016 National Juried Exhibition – (Awarded by Kevin Macpherson) – Southwest Gallery – Dallas, TX June 15, 2016.
- One of five top national known artists to participate in the M Gallery Star Studded Art Extravaganza – Charleston, SC Nov. 1, 2012
- One Man Show – Sage Creek Gallery – Santa Fe, NM Aug. 2012
- Figurative Honorable Mention (Awarded by Quang Ho) OPA 2012 National Juried Exhibition – (Awarded by Quang Ho) – Evergreen Gallery – Evergreen, CO June 22, 2012
- One Man Show – M-Gallery Fine Art – Charleston, SC Sept. 2011
- Finalist in the Figurative Category 2009/2010 International ARC Salon Competition -Presented by the Art Renewal Center
- “The Fledgling”-winner of The Ralph “Tuffy” Berg Award, Honorary Chairman’s Award & Southwest Art Magazine’s Award of Excellence 42nd Annual CM Russell Auction – Heritage Inn – Great Falls, MT March 17-20, 2010 (Note: Bryce is the first artist in the 42 year history of the auction to win three of the five awards given.)
- Honorable Mention (Awarded by Daniel Greene) Salon International 2009 – Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art – San Antonio, TX Apr. 11-May 1, 2009
- One Man Show – Rive Gauche Gallery – Scottsdale, AZ March 26-April 9, 2009
- Great American Figurative Painters Group Exhibition – Waterhouse Gallery – Santa Barbara, CA Nov. 22, 2008
- Best in Show, Gold Medal Winner -OPA 2008 Western Regional Juried Exhibition – Devin Galleries – Coeur d’Alene, ID Sept. 12-Oct. 11, 2008
- Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction – Rist Canyon, CO August 31, 2008
- OPA 17th Annual National Juried Exhibition – Dana Gallery — Missoula, MT May 2-June 14, 2008
- Int’l Guild of Realism Museum Show – Traveling April, 2008-November 2010
- One Man Show – Rive Gauche Gallery — Scottsdale, AZ Jan. 17, 2008
- Int’l Guild of Realism Winter Show – Scottsdale Fine Art — Scottsdale, AZ Jan. 13-Jan. 30, 2008
- OPA 2007 Central Regional Juried Exhibition – South Wind Gallery — Topeka, KS Sept. 28-Nov. 10, 2007
- Group Show – Galerie Kornye West — Ft. Worth, TX Sept. 8, 2007
- Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction — Rist Canyon, CO Sept. 2, 2007
- Human Form Show – Tanglewood Fine Art — Flagstaff, AZ Aug. 3, 2007
- Pioneer Show – Apple Gallery — Bountiful, UT July 18-Aug. 18, 2007
- The Society of Master Impressionists Intl 2007 Exhibition – Sunset Center — Amarillo, TX June 2-July 4, 2007
- Salon International 2007 – Greenhouse Gallery — San Antonio, Texas May 19- June 8, 2007
- Award of Merit-83rd Annual Spring Salon – Springville Art Museum — Springville, UT Apr. 19-July 8, 2007
- Finalist- for Feb. (Ukranian Girl); Mar. (The Rose Bower); Apr. (From the Deep) 2007 in the Raymar Second Annual Fine Art Competition. www.raymarart.com
- National Sculpture Society – 74th Annual Exhibition Feb. 19 – June 1, 2007 at the Park Avenue Atrium Gallery — NYC, NY
- National Sculpture Society – 73rd Annual Exhibition Sept. 21 – Dec. 10, 2006 at the Quick Center for the Arts — Fairfield, CT Show resumes at the Brookgreen Gardens — SC Jan. 13 – Feb. 25, 2007
- Salon International 2006 Greenhouse Gallery — San Antonio, Texas May 20, – June 16, 2006
- 82nd Annual Spring Salon Springville Art Museum — Springville, UT Apr. 29 – July 2, 2006
- Third Place Winner- 15th Annual Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition — Missoula, MT May 5 – June 24, 2006
- Literary Sculpture National Sculpture Society- Park Avenue Atrium — NYC Apr. 3 – Jul. 14, 2006
- Third Place Winner- 2006 Statewide Competition – Bountiful/Davis Art Center Feb. 17 – Mar. 31, 2006
- Top Prize for Best Narrative Sculpture- 2005 Viselaya Sculpture Competition Concord, MA Sep. 10 – Oct. 7, 2005
- Awarded commission of the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial monument 2005 (nationwide competition)
- Honorable Mention- 1st Annual Selected Figure Drawing Exhibition 2004 from the New England Realist Art Centers
- Honorable Mention- International ARC Salon Competition 2004 – Presented by the Art Renewal Center
- Gold Medal Winner- 2002 Cultural Olympiad Statewide Competition – Visions and Victories and the Olympic spirit Bountiful/Davis Art Center Feb. 15 – Mar. 29, 2002
- National Sculpture Society Sports Sculpture Exhibition – Park Avenue Atrium — New York, NY May 6 – Jul. 26, 2002
Bryce Liston is an academic award winning painter from America. His full name is Bryce Cameron Liston. His art works and paintings have won many awards nationally as well as internationally. His works are collected and shown in many art galleries globally.
He has won the Southwest Art Award of Excellence at the 2010 CM Russell Auction; The Honorary Chairman’s Award and also won The Tuffy Berg Award. He was also awarded best in show at the 2008 OPA Western Regional Exhibition.
In January 2009, he was also named as one of the Top Ten artist to watch by Southwest Art Magazine. His art works and paintings have been selected as book covers as well as content on book covers.
Bryce Cameron Liston captures the universal human experience
By Gussie Fauntleroy
Painter and sculptor Bryce Cameron Liston tells his students they’ll know when they get the form right with sculpture by the way the light falls on it. And with figurative painting, when the light is executed just so, it makes the form look right. In earlier centuries, when artists undertook years of meticulous classical training in an atelier environment, they pursued both disciplines. They sculpted the human figure to viscerally understand its nuances, its joints and muscles, and its graceful lines. And they drew and painted to translate these qualities into two dimensions through the play of color, shadow, and light.
Liston has sometimes yearned for that kind of art education—watched over by the careful eye of a highly experienced artist and pushed to master one element of visual representation before earning the right to undertake the next. Instead, the 46-year-old artist has often learned skills in no particular order: some drawing and painting, then a long unofficial apprenticeship in bronze sculpture, then back to drawing and painting to fill in what he still needed to know.
“I think of art education like the spiral of a spring,” he muses, sitting in the light-filled studio above his garage in a foothills suburb of Salt Lake City, UT. “As you go up the spiral, around the spring, you come back to the same spot but on the next level up, and you understand more deeply what you learned at that spot the last time.” As he continually moves around the spiral of rendering the figure in paint, he finds himself discovering how to say more with less, to convey the essence of emotion, character, and human experience with fewer highly defined details and more telling gesture, more emphasis on shadow and light.
While Liston still has a passion for sculpting, three-dimensional art has had to take a backseat for now. Over the past few years, collector interest in his paintings has been growing, along with recognition. The only artist ever to have received three of the five top awards at the annual C.M. Russell Auction, in 2010, he also has taken Best of Show at the juried Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition, among other honors. The thoughtful, congenial artist and father of three daughters notes that painting, family, and upkeep on his 1927-vintage home consumes “125 percent” of his time these days.
There was a time—hard as it may be to imagine—when hanging out with artists made Liston unbearably bored. But that was when he was a young boy and those artists were his mother and her plein-air painter friends, setting up their easels in the landscape of Liston’s childhood, south of Salt Lake. His mother, once an assistant to her photographer husband, later took up portrait and landscape painting and reached a high level of proficiency, he says, although she never tried to sell her work. As a boy he may not have appreciated her passion for painting, but he now knows she was a significant if indirect inspiration in his artistic path. “None of my friends grew up around art, and I think taking it in, seeing art produced, and talking about it must have planted some kind of seed,” he reflects. “If I could go back, I would savor every second.”
By junior high school Liston had changed his mind and decided he wanted to be an artist. Early great American illustrators, such as Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell, played an important role in that decision, but school career counselors didn’t quite see things the same way. “They said: ‘You can’t give me that answer [about your career path], that’s not acceptable, it’s not on our career list,’” he recounts. “So one time when they asked, on the spur of the moment I said architecture, and that was on their list.”
Liston studied architectural drafting in high school, but, by the time graduation came around, he realized computers were taking over the drafting field, and, at the time, computers were not his friends. So he entered a fine-art program at the University of Utah, soon transferring to Weber State University in Ogden. In college it quickly became clear that he would not receive the kind of rigorous training in art fundamentals he sought. “They didn’t teach the craft of art, and there was nothing else out there,” he explains. “The atelier situation blossomed again later, but in the mid-1980s, if you wanted to be a representational artist, you were on your own.”
Liston did find a mentor in sculpture, however, and that experience cemented his belief in the value of truly understanding anatomy and the human form, whether in clay or paint. For 15 years, while still drawing and painting on the side, he worked in the private foundry of acclaimed Utah sculptor Edward J. Fraughton. Liston learned every step of the bronze-casting process, but, more than that, Fraughton generously took the young man under his wing in a broader art context as well. “He was very liberal with sharing what he knew about art. I would spend hours in his studio, on the clock, talking about art and looking at art books,” he remembers. “It was a strange education to be a painter and to have learned so much from a sculptor.”
Following his time with Fraughton, Liston once more focused his attention on painting, teaching himself to use color and value to create the same sense of dimensionality and faithfulness to form he had learned to produce in bronze. For a time he worked in a fairly tight, realistic style, especially in a series of paintings based on mythological themes. Eventually, however, the artistic journey around the spiral brought him to a more loosely rendered form of expression, in which not everything needs to be spelled out. “I love the subtle nuances of human anatomy and form, and I enjoy the endless discoveries and delicacies I find there,” he relates, “but I’m forcing myself to a softer, looser style. It’s definitely a battle between the two.”
As it has since high school, the human figure presents itself to Liston as the highest artistic tradition. And while the male form seemed most suited to sculpture, it is the feminine figure that speaks to him when he works in paint; most of his figurative and portrait subjects are young women and girls. “The male anatomy is broken into smaller shapes and straight lines; it’s squared off and easier to get the proper proportions,” the artist observes. The female figure, on the other hand, “involves long, fluid, smooth lines. Obviously I think they’re very beautiful.”
With three daughters, the oldest in her mid teens, Liston has ample inspiration for the romantic, often solitary and reflective beauty featured in his art. He looks for simple, non-period clothing for his wife, daughters, and other models to pose in, adding to a timeless quality of innocence and beauty that resonates across the human spectrum. Liston sketches from life as much as possible and also works from photographs he takes. For HEADING HOME, he captured his youngest daughter in a backlit moment walking in tall grass, carrying a basket of flowers the two had picked. “She started fanning herself, just doing what little girls do,” he says, smiling at the memory. As he often does, Liston played with the dual qualities of visual warmth and coolness in the piece. “Where the sun hits, there’s warmth, but the reflection of sky on flesh makes a cool feeling—that really caught me in this one. It’s one of my favorite recent paintings,” he says.
His oldest daughter is the subject of another of his favorite works. WATER’S EDGE depicts a young woman in quiet contemplation as she dips a toe in the water of a stream. The scene needed to be photographed in early morning, not always a popular time for a 15-year-old. “She’s a teenager. She knew the night before that we were going to do this, but she was not pleased. I was blown away that I got her up to the creek by 8 o’clock,” he laughingly recalls.
Although timeless female beauty is at the heart of much of Liston’s imagery, the painting that took three awards at the C.M. Russell Auction features two males—a father and son. THE FLEDGLING is a tender portrayal of a man teaching a young boy how to handle a rifle. The gentle care reflected in the father’s manner, and the boy’s expression of thoughtful attention, resonated deeply with many who saw the painting at the show, the artist says. “So many men came up to me and said, ‘You captured that scene perfectly—that little moment between father and son.’”
Indeed, as Liston matures as an artist, connecting with viewers and collectors on the level of shared human experience has become increasingly important in his work. Whether in a portrait or figurative image, reflecting the subject’s soulful, essential qualities—and through those, touching the viewer—has become a central goal. “That’s very satisfying,” he affirms. “It’s what drives my work these days.”
Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; M Gallery of Fine Art, Charleston, SC; Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Galerie Kornye West, Ft. Worth, TX; New Masters Gallery, Carmel, CA; Apple Frame Gallery, Bountiful, UT; www.listonart.com.
Featured in January 2012.