Posted: Jun 8, 2013 8:22 AM by Laura Wilson - MTN News
GLACIER PARK - The recent recession forced thousands of Montanans out of jobs over the past few years, including a well-established Flathead Valley artist who's been at his craft for decades. But he's proof that the economy looks to be slowly turning around here in Flathead.
For over 40 years, Montana native Rocky Hoerner has been making a living doing what he loves.
"I do pen and ink, acrylic, and shirt design. It's always been in my heart. At age 5, I can remember getting into it. When I got into school, that's what I pursued," said Rocky Hoerner, artist. Hoerner's Montana-themed artwork has been sought after by people from all over the world, "I kind of mix the fantasy with the real-life type stuff-with wildlife," said Hoerner.
"It's not a typical water color or oil painting. His impression is fresh and different," said Stephanie Dahl, Dam Canyon shop owner.
But when Montana's economy took a hit from the recession, so did Hoerner's art sales, "Overnight, I was busy and couldn't keep up and then the next day it's over. And then you have to do Plan B and get a "real" job," said Hoerner.
Hoerner was forced to trade in his passion for a more steady paycheck, "I knew the people that owned Alpine Market, and they offered me a checking job there. At that time, there weren't any jobs, so I took it."
But now, Hoerner is getting back to doing what he loves again. And despite his four year hiatus from the world of art, he's still been able to expand his customer base at Alpine Market, "I've been selling my art through there, and I've also met a ton of people through there that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet."
And any artist will tell you that with a fresh start, comes fresh ideas. "I'm getting inspired again. That took a while to get back into it. I just moved into a really nice place and am getting my studio set back up," said Hoerner.
"He puts across a good image of the Northwest. I'm hoping for some new creative work, said Dahl.
Now that Hoerner's inspiration has returned to him, so have his customers, "I've got a lot of people requesting it now and am getting commissions, so it's starting to pick back up and it feels good."
Like Hoerner said, he's still in the process of setting up his studio, but you can find a lot of his work at the Dam Canyon Shop, in Hungry Horse. And that shop is right on the way to Glacier Park, with this nice weather, I'm sure a lot of you are starting to venture up this way.